Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director Doug Hogan
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – “West Virginia has the highest adult smoking rate in the country, over 27% of West Virginia high school students use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and over 36% of cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking in the state. West Virginia lawmakers can and must do better now.
“As the Governor is drafting his budget proposal and lawmakers identify their appropriations priorities as part of the 2024 legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) calls for increased funding for the state tobacco control program and an increase in the state’s tobacco taxes, to ease the burden of tobacco and cancer in West Virginia.
“ACS CAN is calling on the state to make a meaningful investment of $16.5 million in fact-based tobacco control programs and increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack with a parallel tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, which would generate revenue and prevent future generations from becoming Big Tobacco’s next customers addicted to their deadly products.
“Furthermore, tobacco companies have specifically targeted rural and limited income communities, veterans, people with disabilities and youth, which has caused disproportionate tobacco use among these populations. Adults who live in rural areas have higher smoking rates than adults in urban areas. They are also more likely to smoke more – 15 cigarettes or more per day – and have an 18 to 20 percent higher lung cancer death rate than people living in urban areas.
“Every West Virginian deserves to live a tobacco-free life. It is past time for West Virginia to take action to reduce the toll of tobacco in the state.”
About ACS CAN
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 www.fightcancer.org.