Pictured, from left, are commissioner Sam Nolte, commissioner Kristie Tenney, Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition member Dr. Joseph Reed and commission president Terry Cutright. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Reed: Tobacco leading cause of preventable deaths

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission declared March 18 Take Down Tobacco Day.

Dr. Joseph Reed attended Thursday’s March 12 Upshur County Commission meeting to ask the commission to ask commissioners for their support to help deal with tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

“There are 4,200 deaths in West Virginia per year related to tobacco use, with the average death 10-14 years early,” Reed said. “This is the leading cause of preventable death.”

He said tobacco use costs West Virginians $1 billion a year.

“Over 50 percent of Upshur County children live in homes where tobacco, including vaping is used by someone,” Reed said.

He said 35 percent of West Virginian high school students vape, with 16.7 percent frequently using and 60 percent of high school students having tried it at least once.

“Most vapes contain nicotine, which is addicting and adversely affects brain development, especially up to age 25 and affects cognition, mental health and predisposes [youth] to addiction,” Reed said. “Vaping, like smoking, releases nicotine and other toxic substances into the air so even non-smokers are affected.”

Commissioner Kristie Tenney made a motion to make March 18 Take Down Tobacco Day and commissioner Sam Nolte seconded the motion.

“If you all would be willing to endorse what I’ve said and recognize that we all have a stake in this, individuals, commission and city council … we’re not going to solve the problem today or tomorrow. It’s an ongoing problem, and we have to keep working at it.”

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