Funding and Taxes Needed to Reduce the Toll of Tobacco in West Virginia

West Virginia Tops the Nation in Tobacco Use Rates and it’s Time for the Legislature to Act

January 12, 2022

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – As lawmakers dive into the 2022 legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges legislators to prioritize increasing tobacco control funding and raising the state’s tobacco taxes which will ease the burden of cancer in West Virginia. 

“We know increasing West Virginia’s funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $16.5 million will keep people from starting to use tobacco, help people quit and save lives,” said Kristy Young, ACS CAN government relations director. “Furthermore, a tax increase of $1.50 per pack of cigarettes with an equivalent tax on all other tobacco products benefits everyone; in addition to increasing revenue for public health, a significant increase in tobacco taxes would save lives and prevent thousands of kids from a lifetime of tobacco addiction.” 

West Virginia has the highest tobacco use rates in the nation, with 22.6% of adults smoking cigarettes and 40.6% of high school students using tobacco products. Everyone deserves to live tobacco-free lives in cleaner, safer, healthier communities, but unfortunately, the lack of comprehensive tobacco control laws and tobacco control funding in West Virginia fails to include everyone. It is past time for the legislature to take meaningful action. We can and must do better.


About ACS CAN at 20 
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 saves lives. 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 made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting  

Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager