Kentucky ranked No. 1 in the percentage of cancer deaths that were related to smoking in 2014

Kentucky has long ranked No. 1 in cancer deaths, and in deaths from lung cancer, so it seems only natural that it rank first in deaths from smoking. It did in a study by the American Cancer Society, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, that ranked every state for percentage of cancer deaths in 2014 that were related to smoking.

In Kentucky, 34 percent of cancer deaths were related to smoking. The other top states were all in the South: Arkansas (33.5 percent), Tennessee (32.9), West Virginia (32.6) and Louisiana (32.6). Then came Alaska (31.4), Missouri (31.3), Alabama (31.3), Oklahoma (31.1) and Nevada (30.9), rounding out the top 10. (Map shows numerical rank and quartile of each state)

The study looked at 12 cancers: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx; esophagus; stomach; colorectum; liver; pancreas; larynx; trachea, lung, and bronchus; cervix uteri; kidney and renal pelvis; and urinary bladder. Among the 167,133 deaths in 2014 from those cancers, 28.6 percent were attributed to smoking.

The study also ranked states by smoking-caused cancer deaths among men (103,609) and women (63,524). Nine of the top 10 states for men and six of the top 10 states for women were in the South. Arkansas led in deaths among men, with 39.5 percent. Utah was the only state under 30 percent, at 21.8. Among women, Kentucky had the highest share, 29 percent. Utah had the lowest, at 11. Only Utah, California and Hawaii were under 20 percent. (Read more)

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