Despite warnings, many Ohioans still smoke

CINCINNATI (AP) — Despite a half century of government warnings, nearly one in four Ohioans still smoke.

In fact, 23.3 percent of Ohio residents still smoked in 2012, a rate that was just 5.4 percent lower than it was in 1984, the first year Ohio tracked smoking numbers. During the same time, the nationwide rate dropped more than 12 percent.

That's according to National Health Interview Surveys, reported by Gannett newspapers in Ohio.

Anti-smoking advocates in Ohio say the state's ranking remains among the lowest in the nation because adequate funds aren't invested in programs to help people quit smoking and prevent children from starting.

The Centers for Disease Control says smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with about 443,000 Americans dying every year.