Quitting smoking appears to come easiest to people in Montana and Minnesota, while the habit dies hardest in Kentucky and the nation's capital, federal health officials said.

Montana and Minnesota, followed by Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Hampshire, California, Oregon, Idaho and New Mexico topped the list of 39 states and District of Columbia with the highest smoking cessation rates.Kentucky and the District of Columbia have the lowest quitting rates, followed by Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report. Utah was ranked 15th.

In Utah, 51.5 percent of people age 18 and older who had ever smoked at least 100 cigarettes polled in the 1989 survey said they were ex-smokers, compared to 59 percent in Montana. Kentucky had a 43 percent quitting rate, Minnesota had a 57.4 percent rate and the District of Columbia 43.8 percent.

"In general, states with lowest quit ratios have the highest prevalence of current cigarette smoking," the CDC said.

The survey by the federal health agency was unveiled as a supplement to a U.S. Surgeon General's report released Tuesday, which documented the far-reaching health benefits that can result from beating the habit.

Utah is ranked No. 6 on a separate list of the states included in the CDC report that eliminated the effects of age, race, sex and education on smoking cessation to illuminate other factors that influence quitting.