Maybe we should call Missouri the "Smoke Me" state.
Whether it's at home or at work or at the convenience store checkout counter, Missourians live in a state that is one of the most tobacco-friendly places in the nation. That's according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks states on their tobacco control efforts.
At just 17 cents per pack, Missouri has the second-lowest state tobacco tax, after South Carolina, the CDC statistics show.
Missouri workers are more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke than any workers outside of Nevada. And Missouri families are more likely than others to welcome smoking in their homes — 69.5 percent of households in the state maintain no smoking rules, compared with the national average of 77.6 percent.
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This nonchalance doesn't come without cost. An estimated 307 adults out of every 100,000 in Missouri die each year due to smoking. Only nine states had higher rates.
The CDC's numbers for Kansas were nothing to be proud of either, but its rates of adult smoking and smoking-related deaths were closer to the national averages than those of Missouri.
So what keeps Missouri smoking?
"There's a real lack of political will and a lack of investment in tobacco control," said Douglas Luke, director of Washington University's Center for Tobacco Policy Research in St. Louis. "The shame is that it costs us both in money and lives."
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