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Preventing Use of Tobacco

Editor, News-Register:

As a grandparent, I am concerned about the skyrocketing youth tobacco use rates. More than one in five high schoolers now use e-cigarettes. And we know that kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try conventional cigarettes.

But there is good news: We know how we can reverse these disturbing trends in West Virginia. Investing in prevention and cessation programs is proven to help prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help people who are already addicted to quit.

In West Virginia, this program has already been successful by helping to decrease adult and youth smoking rates significantly. But over 13% of our young people still smoke and 37% of high schoolers use e-cigarettes.

November marked the American Cancer Society’s 45th annual Great American Smokeout, a day dedicated to helping people make a plan to quit tobacco. Reducing tobacco use is a critical part of building a healthier, safer future for families in West Virginia; that’s why our lawmakers should increase funding for the tobacco prevention and cessation program.

We all know that there are health benefits that occur quickly after quitting smoking. These improvements could potentially mean better health outcomes related to COVID-19. I hope our policymakers consider how important the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation program is and the future we’d like to build for our kids as we continue to invest in it.

Karen Coffield

Moundsville

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