Nevada Earns Odd Distinction

LAS VEGAS -- Kentucky has displaced Nevada as the state with the highest percentage of adult smokers in the nation, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevada ranked 49th in the United States for 2000, with smokers making up 29.1 percent of the adult population, the Atlanta-based CDC said in a Dec. 14 report of its most recent survey.

In Kentucky, smokers made up 30.5 percent of the population, according to the study.

"We're going in the right direction," said Nicole Bungum, tobacco control program coordinator for the Clark County Health District in Las Vegas. "Of course, we had nowhere to go but up."

Nevada had led the nation in 1999 with 31.5 percent.

The fastest-growing demographic group of smokers in Nevada are teenagers, Bungum said.

Nevada is one of just six states prohibiting local governments from passing stricter tobacco regulations than those set by the state. A bill that would have let local governments ban smoking in retail stores and public buildings failed during the past legislative session.
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