It was in 1964 that the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health linked for the first time smoking and adverse health outcomes. The pivotal report aimed to shift public opinion on smoking by identifying the dangers of tobacco use. While the smoking rate has fallen precipitously in the last 50 years — dropping from 42.4% in 1965 to 17.1% in 2016 — tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
According to the Office on Smoking and Health, every day nearly 4,000 young people under 18 years old try smoking for the first time. Today, 36.5 million, or about 17.1% of adults, are smokers. Approximately 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
These trends vary considerably across the country, with residents of some states much more likely to smoke than residents of other states. To highlight and help understand this variation, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the adult smoking rate in each state from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.