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Rural Blog: Kentucky leads nation in cancer deaths related to smoking; top five all in South


A study by the American Cancer Society, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, ranks every state for cancer deaths in 2014 related to smoking, and the top five states are all in the South, led by Kentucky.

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. (States and D.C. ranked by cancer deaths related to smoking in 2014)

cancer deaths

Kentucky had the highest percentage of cancer deaths related to smoking, 34 percent.

Arkansas (33.5 percent) was second, followed by Tennessee (32.9), West Virginia (32.6), Louisiana (32.6), Alaska (31.4), Missouri (31.3), Alabama (31.3), Oklahoma (31.1) and Nevada (30.9).

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 percentage 29. Utah had the lowest, at 11. Only Utah, California and Hawaii were under 20 percent. (Read more)

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.


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