Colorado Ranks Among Top 10 in Lowest Percentage of Smokers

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

With No Tobacco Day coming up on May 31, BetColorado took a break from Colorado betting apps reviews to look at smoking prevention in the state.

And Colorado doesn’t have far to go to move up the list of states with the fewest number of cigarette smokers.

Using data from the CDC’s 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, BetColorado.com — home to coverage of Colorado sports betting — ranked the states based on its percentage of adults who reported “smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke daily or some days.”

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State-By-State Breakdown of Adult Smokers

RankState% of Adult Smokers
1Utah7.2
2California8.92
T3Hawaii10.1
T3Maryland10.1
5Massachusetts10.6
T6New Jersey10.7
T6Washington10.7
8Connecticut11.1
T9Colorado12.0
T9Illinois12.0
T9New York12.0
12New Hampshire12.3
T13Oregon12.4
T13Rhode Island12.4
T13Virginia12.4
T16Arizona13.1
T16Texas13.1
T18Idaho13.3
T18New Mexico13.3
T18Wisconsin13.3
T21Delaware13.4
T21Minnesota13.4
T21Nebraska13.4
T24Montana14.4
T24North Carolina14.4
T24Pennsylvania14.4
27Iowa14.6
28Vermont14.8
T29Georgia15.0
T29North Dakota15.0
31South Dakota15.3
T32Nevada15.5
T32South Carolina15.5
T34Kansas15.6
T34Maine15.6
36Wyoming16.4
37Oklahoma16.9
38Michigan17.0
39Arkansas17.1
40Alabama17.2
T41Indiana17.3
T41Missouri17.3
43Ohio18.0
44Louisiana19.5
T45Kentucky19.6
T45Mississippi19.6
47Tennessee19.7
48Arkansas21.1
49West Virginia22.0
Note: Florida is not listed because there was not enough data collected for 2021 survey.

Colorado Receives Fresh Funding

Data shows that only 12% of those surveyed in Colorado currently smoke daily or some days. That leaves Colorado tied for ninth in the nation with Illinois and New York. West Virginia is the worst with 22% of its adults saying they have smoked 100 cigarettes in their life and currently smoke daily or some days.

That low number for Colorado comes from work through the Colorado Board of Health. On January 20, 2023, the Tobacco Review Committee approved a new three-year funding cycle that allocates about $20 million annually for interventions via state and community efforts, smoking cessation, mass media reach, and through surveillance and evaluation.

The entire state helps bear the cost of those smoking, as tobaccofreekids.org says that annual healthcare costs in Colorado for smoking are $2.19 billion, with Medicaid costs reaching $415.3 million.

While those are big numbers based on a population of 5.812 million as of 2021, the state and federal tax burden of $736 per household for smoking-caused government expenditures isn’t overtly high. By comparison, the average cost per household in the states with the most adult smokers in West Virginia and Arkansas is $1,428 and $1,225, respectively.

Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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