Smoking highest in Kentucky, lowest Utah

Nov. 17, 2011 at 9:09 PM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. smoking rates range from a high of 29 percent in Kentucky to a low of 11 percent in Utah, a Gallup poll indicates.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data, collected from January to June, asked 1,000 Americans, "Do you smoke?" Overall, the index nationwide found an average of 21 percent of all Americans said they smoked in the first half of this year -- the same percentage found by Gallup and Healthways since they started tracking Americans' smoking habits in 2008.

High smoking states remain in the South and Midwest. All of the states where rates are 25 percent or higher -- the well-above average group -- are in these regions, except for West Virginia, which Gallup categorizes as a Northeastern state.

Fourteen of the 18 states, including the District of Columbia, where fewer than 20 percent of adults smoke -- the below average and well-below average groups -- are in the East or West.

The findings suggested government smoking bans were effective. There were no bans on smoking in bars in all but one of the states where rates are 25 percent or higher and no bans on smoking in restaurants in all but two.

However, smoking is banned from workplaces, restaurants and bars in all but three of the 18 states where smoking rates were lower than 20 percent.

The telephone survey of 177,600 adults has a margin of error of 1 percentage point to 4 percentage points, depending on the size of the state.

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