Fifty-two years ago, the surgeon general issued a report linking tobacco use to cancer. More than 42% of Americans were smokers at the time. That figure is now at just over 18%, according to a report from USA Today. Louisiana's smoking rate is among the highest in the country. Nearly one in four (24%) Louisiana residents is a smoker. That ranks the Bayou State at number five. We have the 4th highest rate of cancer deaths, per capita in the US. Our state cigarette tax is $1.08 per pack, the country's 19th lowest. West Virginia has the nation's highest percentage of smokers at nearly 27%, followed by Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Don't blame me when your health insurance goes up next year.