From 1998 through 2007, Kentucky has led the nation in the number of adults who smoke. The Centers for Disease Control estimates in its latest report that more than 28 percent of Kentuckians smoke; the Indiana rate is about 24 percent. But Kentucky’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program head Irene Centers says there is some positive news among Kentucky’s youth.
“Seeing the youth current smoking rate go down every two years when we do the survey is refreshing,” says Centers.
Still, the high rate of smoking in the state also comes at a high price. Centers says the state’s Medicaid coffers footed more than $487 million in bills for smoking-related illnesses last year. The state’s prevention and cessation program operates on approximately $4 million dollars a year.