Cancer-Fighting Advocates Mark the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® by Calling for Action to Help People Quit Tobacco

State Lawmakers Can and Must Do Better When it Comes to Tobacco Control.

November 15, 2022

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society's 47th annual Great American Smokeout® Thursday by calling on elected officials to protect the health of all West Virginia residents by implementing strong tobacco control legislation. 

“The Great American Smokeout® is about helping people quit, and we know that significantly increasing tobacco taxes and dedicating a portion of the revenue to tobacco control programs is one of the best ways to encourage quitting,” said Michelle Zimmerman, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network associate director, regional media advocacy. “A tax increase of $1.50 per pack of cigarettes with a parallel tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, would generate revenue, protect kids, and save lives. In fact, a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax increase would help 12,300 West Virginia adults quit smoking and save 4,200 lives.  Investing $16.5 million in revenue from the tax increase in tobacco control programs will help prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help people already addicted to quit. ”

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in West Virginia., and smoking is now linked to at least 12 cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers. A new ACS study found that in 2019, 36.1% of cancer deaths in West Virginia were due to smoking, the second highest proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths in the country. Additionally, West Virginia has both the highest adult smoking rate (22%) and the highest youth tobacco use rate (40.6%) in the country.  West Virginia can and must do better.

“We urge state lawmakers to mark the Great American Smokeout® by prioritizing tobacco control measures. In doing so, West Virginia will take a decisive step towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll on our communities while advancing our mission to end cancer as we know it for everyone,” said Zimmerman.

Free resources on quitting tobacco can be found at West Virginia Tobacco Quitline or through the American Cancer Society’s new cessation service, the Empowered to Quit program.



The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting

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Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Associate Director, Regional Media Advocacy