CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The fight to keep young people from getting hooked on nicotine is becoming more complex and funding for those programs is getting more scarce. Some groups say it is time to take a serious look at programs to keep kids from smoking and provide money to fund them.
“It is absolutely an epidemic among our youth that we must address,” said National Senior Director of Tobacco for the American Lung Association Jennifer Folkenroth.
Right now the groups that aim to tackle the problem are often having to do it with little or no funding.
“Unfortunately these programs that are so critical at intervening and providing teens with the education they need to make the decision on utilizing these products or deciding never to start using them are significantly underfunded,” Folkenroth said. “They are not at the Centers for Disease Control recommended level in order to make sure that our youth are being provided with the education needed and recommended by the CDC to ensure that we are combating tobacco use at a very early age.”
The West Virginia Tobacco Quitline provides coaching for people trying to kick the habit. Sheila Moran is the Director of Communications & Marketing for First Choice Services, the group that operates the service. She said callers often tell coaches they wish they’d never picked up the habit in the first place.
“What most people tell us is that they did start as teenagers as a result of peer pressure,” Moran said.
If you need help kicking the habit you can call the West Virginia Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text 304-583-4010. You can also enroll online at wvtobaccoquitline.com.