Welcome to Smoke Free West Virginia
Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death and disease in West Virginia and the United States. In recent years, significant successes have been achieved in reducing smoking among youth and implementing clean indoor air policies across the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sustained investments in comprehensive tobacco control programs can decrease smoking prevalence, prevent illnesses, and millions of premature deaths, and save the country billions of dollars.
- 26.9% or 387,000 West Virginia adults are current cigarette smokers.
- 3,800 WV adults (age 35 and older) die each year of smoking-related diseases.
- 1 in 5 WV deaths are caused by cigarette smoking (of adults age 35 and older).
- WV smokers who died lost an average 14 years of life due to premature death.
- Direct health care costs total $1.3 billion annually in WV.
- Worker productivity losses total $1.1 billion annually in WV.
- Each WV smoking-related death equals an average of $288,000 in lost wages.
- These costs total $2.4 billion annually for West Virginia!
- This equals $6,236 for each smoker and/or $1,323 annually for each WV resident.
Despite success reducing youth smoking and adult quitline use, smoking among WV adults remains high.
People Have the Right to Breathe Clean Air
Everyone needs to breathe. Secondhand smoke is a very easily prevented cause of disease and death, both in adults and children. Local officials have the right and responsibility to deal with matters of public health and public safety in response to public concerns. A community's public health laws should be determined by public support and local policymakers, not by tobacco industry lobbyists in backrooms of the state legislature
West Virginia needs to aggressively fight the epidemic of youth tobacco use - 28.5 percent of high school students report smoking. The state's investment in tobacco prevention programs needs to be supported by strong youth access restrictions with strict enforcement.
Every year 4,900 West Virginia youth under 18 become daily smokers. If current trends continue, more than 42,000 West Virginia youth alive today will die early because of smoking (Campaign for a Tobacco-Free Kids 2003). We must act now to protect our children from a lifetime of addiction and early death and to promote the tobacco-free social norm that will result in saving lives and saving money for West Virginia.