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Message from the Commissioner

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Section I. Prevalence

Section II. WV Cigarette Consumption

Section III. Deaths in WV due to Smoking

Section IV. Health Care Costs Related to Smoking





A Report on Tobacco Use Rates, Smoking-Related Deaths,
and Smoking-Related Health Care Costs in West Virginia

Executive Summary

  • In 2003, West Virginia had an adult smoking rate of 27.3 percent, the third highest rate among the 54 states and territories participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The U.S. rate in the same year was 22.2 percent. The West Virginia 2003 rate of adult male smokeless tobacco use was 15.9 percent, the highest rate among the 12 states that asked questions on smokeless tobacco use that year.

  • According to West Virginia excise tax data, cigarette consumption in the state declined in fiscal year 2003/2004 to 183 million packs, likely reflecting the impact of the increase in the state cigarette tax that went into effect in May 2003.

  • Using updated SAMMEC software provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health estimated that an average of 3,842 West Virginians died each year from 1999 through 2003 from causes due to cigarette smoking. Although it is recognized that smokeless tobacco is a cause of oral cancers, as well as carrying cardiovascular disease risks, the SAMMEC model does not address the calculation of deaths attributable to smokeless tobacco use.

  • Direct health care costs in West Virginia due to cigarette smoking were provided by two separate models developed by (1) Vincent Miller et al. and (2) Leonard Miller et al. It is estimated that between $846 million and $1.064 billion was spent on direct medical costs for smoking-related illnesses in the state in 2004. Using SAMMEC, it was estimated that smoking-related productivity losses for that same year amounted to $1.012 billion. Combining direct health care costs and productivity losses resulted in total costs to the state of between $1.858 billion and $2.076 billion. This did not include economic costs attributable to snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes and secondhand smoke or productivity losses due to morbidity from smoking-related illnesses.

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Last updated September 12, 2006.

If you have any questions, contact the Health Statistics Center at:
Phone: 304-558-9100 or Email:dhhrvitalreg@wv.gov