(09/18/2014)
Nearly 30% of West Virginia adults smoke, compared to a national average of 18%.

Calhoun, according to the WV Medical Journal, shows an adult smoking population of 30-35%.

With Mingo and Wayne County showing the highest smoking rate at 35-40%, Calhoun and most regional counties are among 18 counties in the 30-35% range.

More than 1 in 4 West Virginia women smokes while pregnant, which is the highest pregnancy smoking rate in the nation and more than 3 times the national average.

"Roughly a quarter of all babies born in West Virginia are, in effect, 'born smoking' because their mothers smoke while pregnant," said Margie Hale, Executive Director of WV KIDS COUNT. "The list of health risks for babies whose mothers smoke is long and serious."

Of WV's 55 counties, Calhoun ranks near the worst with mothers continuing to smoke while pregnant at 36%, according to Kids Count.

There are 13 serious risks for babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant.

See Chart Born Smoking

The West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention says the health-care costs and the cost impact on employers is astronomical.

West Virginia received $807 million in 2007 in the tobacco settlement case. If you think that money went to tobacco cessation efforts, you would be wrong.

The money from the tobacco bonds went to patch-up the Teacher Retirement System's unfunded liability.

West Virginians are facing some of the highest health risks in the USA, with obesity, diabetes, and other associate illnesses.


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