CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia is earning failing marks in many health-related categories, especially when it comes to smoking. A few recent reports point to the state’s challenges when it comes to kicking the potentially deadly habit.
The United Health Foundation recently released the America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities report which put the Mountain State dead last in several categories, including smoking.
In a separate report, the American Lung Association also gave West Virginia a failing grade.
“With West Virginia’s rates of smoking over 25% and just seeing that in comparison to other states really just highlights the concern that we need to do more,” said Molly Pisciottano, an Advocacy Director for the American Lung Association. On the state level, the American Lung Association said lawmakers have work to do.
“We can properly fund tobacco cessation programs so that we can continue to prevent youth from using tobacco products and also help those who want to quit do so,” Pisciottano said. “We can also make sure that we address other policies as well to make sure there are strong indoor air laws.”
According to the American Lung Association there are more than 4,200 smoking attributable deaths in West Virginia annually.
Some people are showing a willingness to try to quit. Last year the state’s Tobacco Quitline enrolled over 5,500 West Virginians in its tobacco cessation program.
“You’ve got to have the motivation,” said Shelia Moran, Director of Marketing and Communications at First Choice Services, the group that operates the Quitline. “When someone is motivated and they call we are able to as quick as possible get them the information, get them the nicotine replacement therapy and get them lined up with a coach.”
For more information on how to quit click here.
You can read more about the state’s plans to reduce tobacco use here.