State smoking laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Utah remains the state with the lowest percentage of smokers (12.2%), a distinction it has held since Gallup and Healthways began tracking smoking habits in 2008. Kentucky (30.2%) and West Virginia (29.9%) have the highest smoking rates in the nation, as has been the case since 2008.
These results are based on interviews conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2013 with more than 178, 000 Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Utah's low smoking rate is due in large part to the religious composition of its residents. Six in 10 Utah residents identify themselves as Mormon, and in 2013 just 5% of Mormons living in Utah smoked, while smoking among the next three most represented groups in Utah - those with no religious identity, Protestants, and Catholics - were at or above national smoking averages for each group.
While smoking rates declined in nearly all states from 2008 - the first year Gallup and Healthways collected enough data on smoking habits to allow state-level estimates - to 2013, the states with the top 10 highest and lowest smoking rates are largely the same as they were six years ago. Nationally, the smoking rate fell to 19.7% in 2013 from 21.1% in 2008.
States with the lowest smoking rates are generally located in the Northeast and the West, while states with the highest smoking rates are predominantly located in the South and Midwest.
When comparing the 2008 and 2013 smoking rates for each state, Alaska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Nevada saw the most improvement. The smoking rate in each of these states is at least four percentage points lower in 2013 than it was in 2008, well above the 1.4-point drop nationally.
States With Smoking Bans Tend to Have Lower Smoking Rates
Thirty-three states have outright bans on smoking in private worksites and restaurants, and 27 states have bans on smoking in bars, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some states, like California, have provisions for ventilated rooms. Others, like Missouri, have provisions for designated smoking areas. These figures do not include smoking bans that localities have put in place.
Nine of the 10 states with the lowest smoking rates have outright bans on smoking in all three of these settings, with California allowing for ventilated rooms.
Bans are significantly less common in the 10 states with the highest smoking rates. Kentucky, West Virginia, and Mississippi - the states with the three highest smoking rates - do not have statewide bans in any of the three settings.