Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Based on 2019 data, about 34 million US adults smoke cigarettes. Every day, about 1,600 young people under age 18 years smoke their first cigarette, and 235 begin smoking cigarettes daily. Over 16 million people live with at least one disease caused by smoking, and 58 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke.
For more information please see a CDC factsheet on Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in West Virginia
West Virginia (WV) continually ranks among the top three states in the US, (WV, Kentucky, Louisiana) with the highest tobacco use prevalence rate. According to the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), smoking prevalence in WV was 25.2 percent, which is a lot higher than the national prevalence of 14.0 percent. According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 14.4 percent of WV’s youth are current smokers. This figure is higher than the national average of 6.0 percent.
Pregnant smokers- West Virginia has the highest proportion of pregnant smokers in the nation. According to Vital Statistics and PRAMS data, about 30% of West Virginia (WV) mothers smoke during their pregnancy. This rate is nearly three times the national average, and is well above the Healthy People 2020 target of <1%. For more information choose the Pregnancy and Smoking tab under Cessation.
* NEW * The WV African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WVAATPN) and the Coalition for Tobacco-Free West Virginia (CTFWV) has issued a press release regarding menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Click the link to view. Historic Move to Ban Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars.
Governor's Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Task Force
The Task Force was created by House Bill 4494 during the WV Legislature's 2020 regular session.
The West Virginia Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Task Force is created for the purpose of recommending and monitoring the establishment and management of programs that are found to be effective in the reduction of tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products use by all state citizens, with a strong focus on the prevention of children and young adults use of tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products. Review HB4494 here.
Working diligently for several months the Task Force members have produced a report that outlines programmatic and funding recommendations for tobacco prevention and cessation in West Virginia.
Representatives from the Task Force presented the report to members of the WV Legislature's Finance Committee in early December 2021. To view the final Task Force Report please click here.
The WV Division of Tobacco Prevention has compiled a comprehensive five year strategic plan addressing tobacco prevention and cessation in West Virginia. To view this report click here: WV Tobacco Use Reduction Plan