West Virginia frequently hits the "worst" list.

This week, the state has America's worst rate of deadly cigarette smoking and exposure to dangerous second-hand smoke inside homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC says smoking is creeping upward again.

The CDC announcement:

"Among states, smoking prevalence was highest in West Virginia (26.6 percent), Indiana (26.1 percent) and Kentucky (25.3 percent). ... Home exposure [to second-hand smoke] varied widely from 3 percent of adults exposed in their homes in Arizona to 10.1 and 10.6 percent, respectively, in Mississippi and West Virginia."

About a half-million Americans die prematurely each year from heart attacks, cancers, strokes and other ailments linked to nicotine addiction, according to the CDC.

Illness from cigarettes adds $96 billion a year to U.S. medical costs.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said, "Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States."

Roughly 40 percent of adults in the USA smoked in 1960.

With endless health campaigns, the ratio dropped to 19.8 percent in 2007 - but rose to 20.6 percent in 2008.

The CDC report said that "41.3 percent of persons with a GED certificate smoked cigarettes, compared to 5.7 percent of persons with a graduate degree. ... Smoking rates among low-income adults enrolled in Medicaid programs are much higher than the general population (33 percent vs. 19 percent)."

The CDC says nicotine is as addictive as heroin.

They said tobacco companies are basically drug pushers, because their profits depend on getting young Americans hooked, then reaping revenue from them for years.

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