Highest Smoking Death Rate Is In Kentucky

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CDC has release the smoking rates and the deaths caused by cigarette smoking across the nation. Kentucky has the country's highest death rates from smoking, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released this week.

Smoking death rates were tallied using death certificate data from 2000 through 2004, focusing on lung cancer and 18 other diseases caused by cigarette smoking, according to the report, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Associated Press said Thursday.

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West Virginia and Nevada ranked second and third among U.S. states with the highest smoking mortality rates, with Utah and Hawaii showing the lowest smoking death rates.

Kentucky had about 371 deaths out of every 100,000 adults age 35 and older, almost one-and-a-half times higher than the national median of 263 per 100,000, and almost three times the rate for Utah, which was 138 per 100,000.

Smoking deaths among males were higher than among females, the report said, but smoking rates dropped for men in 49 states since the late 1990s, while they declined for women in only 32 states.

Terry Pechacek, a CDC senior scientist for tobacco-related issues, told AP that smoking, especially when combined with obesity and another risk factors for heart disease, "is like gasoline on the fire." Kentucky and West Virginia also had the highest smoking rates in 2004 as well, according to the CDC report.

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