As the lead State organization for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control, the Division of Tobacco Prevention develops, conducts, and supports strategic efforts to protect the public’s health from the harmful effects of tobacco use.
A West Virginia free from tobacco-related death and disease.
The leading cause of death and disease in West Virginia continues to be tobacco use with high prevalence for both smoking and spit tobacco. Almost 4,000 West Virginia residents die each year from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Since 1964, the year of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, over 155,000 West Virginia residents have perished in the preventable pandemic of death and chronic disease caused by cigarette smoking.
Despite the fact that the consequences of tobacco use are well-known to West Virginians, residents continue to use tobacco in alarming numbers. Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of premature death and disease.
West Virginia is aggressively addressing this problem by implementing evidence-based comprehensive tobacco control programs through the Bureau for Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Prevention. Annual federal and state funding for these efforts average $7 million dollars annually (through SFY2013) which is 25% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Best Practice” recommendation of $28 million annually.
The economic costs of tobacco use are incredibly high in West Virginia. These costs are estimated to be nearly $2 billion annually, half from direct healthcare costs and the other half associated with occupational and work productivity costs. Every smoker who dies loses an average of 14 years of life due to premature death.
The mission of the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention (DTP) is to reduce disease, disability and death related to tobacco. Goals for the division include:
- Prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth.
- Eliminate exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
- Promote cessation of tobacco use among adults and young people.
- Identify and eliminate disparities among population groups related to tobacco use.
The DTP funds prevention activities through its three programs: Youth Prevention, Clean Indoor Air and Cessation. These programs continue to employ strategies guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Programs.