Could it just be a coincidence that Kentucky sits near the bottom of most national education rankings, and also leads the nation in the percentage of residents who smoke?
I don't think so.
Given the overwhelming evidence of smoking's deadly effects, how is it possible that close to one in three of us still choose to indulge? Could it be because so many Kentuckians simply aren't adequately trained to process and understand basic information regarding life and death?
Over the last fifty years, about 20 million American deaths can be blamed directly on smoking. And they're not pretty deaths. If you've ever watched a loved one spend their last days suffering from a terminal case of lung cancer, it's likely one of the most difficult things you'll ever experience.
And yet, the percentage of Kentuckians who smoke has actually increased by half a percentage point in recent years. This is insanity.
I can at least understand older adults who have smoked all their lives being incapable of overcoming such a powerful addiction. But how can our young people – who have a choice -- be so blind to the suicidal nature of their decision?
When it comes to basketball, the words "We're Number One!" are proudly proclaimed by Kentuckians from Ashland to Paducah. But our dominance in smoking is a Number One ranking we should be glad to lose.
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.