Statement: American Lung Association applauds West Virginia University for taking steps to protect lung health on campus
(December 20, 2018) - CHARLESTON
The West Virginia Board of Governors is proposing to strengthen its tobacco-free campus policy. The American Lung Association supports this measure. Sarah Lawver, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association in West Virginia, released this statement:
“The American Lung Association in West Virginia applauds West Virginia University for clarifying its tobacco-free policy to include all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 4,200 West Virginians each year. It causes or exacerbates a wide range of adverse health effects, including lung cancer and lung disease, such as asthma and respiratory infections. West Virginia currently has the highest tobacco-use rate among adults in the United States.
Cigarette smoking during childhood and adolescence causes significant health problems among young people, including an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical fitness and potential effects on lung growth and function. Most importantly, this is when an addiction to smoking takes hold, often lasting into and sometimes throughout adulthood. Among adults who have ever smoked daily, 87 percent had tried their first cigarette by the time they were 18 years of age, and 95 percent had by age 21.
E-cigarettes are unregulated tobacco products and are the most commonly used tobacco products among kids. Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. According to the CDC, use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased by 78 percent from 2017 to 2018, leading the FDA to declare an epidemic. One in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes regularly, for a total of 3 million. The American Lung Association is very concerned that we are at risk of losing another generation to tobacco-caused diseases as the results of e-cigarettes.
In addition to this move, one of the recommendations the Lung Association is making is that faculty and staff are offered comprehensive and evidence-based cessation options, including nicotine replacement therapies when implementing and enforcing this policy. Proven cessation options include Freedom From Smoking and the West Virginia Free Quitline.
The American Lung Association has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans quit smoking through Freedom From Smoking. A signature program of the Lung Association, Freedom From Smoking is a proven quit tobacco program that is offered online, over the phone and through in-person group clinics. The Freedom From Smoking group clinic includes eight sessions and features a step-by-step plan for quitting tobacco.
The West Virginia Quitline is a free local resource for quitting tobacco. The Quitline provides over-the-phone counseling services with a qualified quit coach and patches, gum or lozenges to all West Virginia residents, ages 18 and older.”
For media interested in speaking with an expert about tobacco use, e-cigarettes and lung health, contact Ewa Dworakowski, American Lung Association communications director, Eastern division at [email protected] or 717-503-3903.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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