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ENDING TOBACCO USE: West Virginia among states with worst grades

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - A new study says that smokers have a higher risk of getting more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Even amid the pandemic, tobacco use remains a serious public health threat.

“It’s a time right now that’s never been more important for lung health,” said Molly Pisciottano from American Lung Association.

With a virus that continues to wreak havoc on our respiratory health, Pisciottano says tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

“West Virginia’s actually higher than the nationwide average,” said Pisciottano.

The American Lung Association gave West Virginia a failing grade on it’s efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report had five categories and the state received an “F” in nearly all areas:

1. Increasing funding for tobacco prevention and control programs,

2. Removing flavored-tobacco products from the market,

3. Implementing more comprehensive smoke-free air laws across all localities in West Virginia,

4. Ensuring that everyone who needs help quitting has access to succession programs and

5. Lastly increasing tobacco taxes.

The director says one way to get involved is to sign up for the association’s lung action network under Lungaction.org.

“Really now is the right time enact these proven policies outlined in the West Virginia state report card and what we can do better,” Pisciottano said.

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