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West Virginia continues to lead the nation in smoking rates

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports, over the past 5 years, the number of adult smokers has decreased in the state.

But even with a drop, the Mountain State continues to lead the nation in the amount of residents who smoke.

Ohio Valley Medical Center, Dr. Lyndave Francis Frank said that’s a big problem.

“Basically, when you smoke, the chemicals within the actual smoke, the cigarette or the cigar can cause effects on your body,” Francis Frank said.

Some of these effects include coughing, a decreased immune system, or worse, cancer.

But these health issues don’t have to be in your future.

Smoking is like any habit. It can be broken.

“There are treatments to replace the urge of smoking, but I think a lot of it too, like every habit, you have to prepare yourself and want to do it. You also have to look at the long-term effects. Some effects can be acute, you can treat and get over immediately like a cold, but there are other things like cancer and emphysema of the lung that are more chronic and long-term damage,” Francis Frank said.

That’s why many doctors believe education is key.

As a community, it’s our job to make family members and friends aware of the dangers.

Then, point them in the right direction.

“I think as a community, education and trying to pass along information to our siblings or our friends would help along the way,” Francis Frank said. 

If you need help quitting, both West Virginia and Ohio have programs and hotlines dedicated in helping you fight.

Officials believe raising cigarette taxes could help lower the number of smokers in West Virginia.

Studies show the five states with the highest cigarette taxes also have some of the lowest smoking rates.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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