Gone are the days of lighting up a cigarette on an airplane or at the airport, except for that designated smoking room. Gone are the days of smoking wherever you want in many states. Right this minute there are thirty-eight states that have some restrictions in place as to where you can light up. Don’t like the new bans? No problem. There are 10 states where you can move to and still smoke yourself to death.
West Virginia comes in first. They have the highest number of smokers, and they are smoking the most. Nearly 27% of adults are lighting up and the average smoker buys 113 packs a year. The state only comes in second to deaths attributable to lung cancer, which is approximately 90% of the cases attributed to smoking; Kentucky beats them out in that category. West Virginia, your new state motto could be: First in smoking, Second in tobacco-related deaths.
Tobacco production is an important part of Kentucky. Their citizens not only harvest tobacco, they use it. Kentucky has the second-highest adult smoking rate and the highest rate of smoking-related deaths. Kentucky also has the highest smoking rate among high school age students in the U.S. Even the kids are getting involved to help keep up tobacco production. Their new motto could be: “Kentucky, number one in smoking-related deaths and high school age smoking.” Sometimes it’s not so great being number one.
Want to work, but don’t want to give up smoking during the day? Indiana is the place for you. You can still eat, drink and work in a haze of carcinogenic smoke. State lawmakers recently blocked a smoke-free bill, and are thinking of eliminating tobacco prevention programs.
The Great Smoky Mountains probably didn’t get its name from all that smoking, but Tennessee ranks the worst in the number of cigarette packs sold per capita and the rate of smoking-related deaths. Cities are not allowed to pass their own smoke-free bans. Going smoke-free could help Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville get off another list. All three are on the worst-cities-for-asthma list at 10, three, and two respectively. The state is also one of 21 states which produce tobacco.
If you are a smoker and move to Arkansas, you can be one of the 23% of the adult population who smokes, that is four percent over the national average. All that secondhand smoke is bad for kids, increasing ear infections, asthma, and respiratory illnesses, and the state has taken a step to lessen the exposure. “Smoking is prohibited in any motor vehicle in which a child who is less than six years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds is restrained in a child passenger safety seat. The law does not appear to apply if a child is under six, but over sixty pounds and too big to be in a safety seat. Sounds like a loophole in the law. Are children under six protected by a law and children over six expendable?
Drinking and smoking appear to go hand-in-hand, and Louisiana has been fighting bans to eliminate smoking from bars. There are smoking bans for restaurants, public buildings, and most work sites, but opponents are afraid it would hurt the bars’ profits as more than one in five Louisiana adults smoke. The answer is simple, if all the bars eliminate smoking, either smokers stay home or go out. All bars would be on the same level; none of them would allow smoking.
Oklahoma made the “10 States Addicted to Smoking” because rates of smoking and smoking-related deaths are high. It has no statewide smoke-free workplace law in place, and cities and towns in the state are not allowed to pass their own smoke-free workplace laws. Oklahoma is also the birthplace of the main Marlboro man, Darrell Winfield. He wasn’t the original, but he was a “real” cowboy and worked for Marlboro for over twenty years. Oklahoma is also on another list as Tulsa has the distinction of being number five as the worst city for asthma, and cigarette smoke is one leading causes of asthma.
Don’t want to quit smoking? Move to South Carolina because it has the nation’s lowest smoking-cessation rate. They aren’t even trying to quit there. There are no smoking restrictions in restaurants, bars, private work sites and retail stores. South Carolina also has a low cigarette tax of $.57 a pack, but Missouri, the Show-Me State, is showing them up at only $0.17 tax per pack.
Want the possibility of your child to be surrounded by cigarette smoke during daycare? Mississippi doesn’t have restrictions on smoking at child-care facilities, but you can’t smoke in government buildings or on college campuses. Smoking opponents in Mississippi feel government shouldn’t tell private business how to operate. Bad news for young children and health lungs.
Not everyone in those states smokes. The current smoking rate in the U.S. is about one in five which means a majority of the people have their rights to clean air in the work place and in public taken away. If all non-smokers stayed home and did not patronize establishments, the consequences would be far more reaching and more detrimental to business then if smokers stayed home.
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