MISSOURI – Millions die from smoking-related illnesses and health complications worldwide each year, and new research finds Missouri might be one of the hardest-hit US states from smoking.

A recent report from NiceRx, a medication access company, ranked Missouri among the top 10 states in smoking rates and smoking-related deaths. The state ranked ninth and sixth in those respective categories.

According to the report, Missouri’s smoking rate in 2022 is around 19.6% and smoking-related death rate was around 183 per 100,000 people when last tracked in 2019.

To compile the data, NiceRx utilized information from the World Population Review. West Virginia was the state with the highest smoking rate and smoking-related death rate.

“Tobacco is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths in the world,” says NiceRX. “It also increases the risk of a variety of health issues, such as an increased risk of a stroke, risk of multiple forms of cancer, as well as heart problems, such as heart disease.”

The findings on Missouri come months after the American Lung Association gave the Show-Me State a failing grade for funding tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in its latest “State of Tobacco Control” report.

The American Lung Association calls for Missouri’s elected officials to take the following actions to reduce tobacco use:

  1. Increase state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation
  2. Pass comprehensive smokefree laws and policies at the local and state level
  3. Increase tobacco taxes on all tobacco products.

Missouri’s tobacco tax is currently the lowest in the nation. The state imposes a 17-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes, considerably lower than the highest state-based tobacco tax ($4.35 in New York). The state last raised its tobacco tax rate in 1993 from 13 cents to 17 cents.