SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 52
(By Senator Stollings)
[Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources]
Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study tobacco use in West Virginia, with emphasis on cigarette smoking prevalence, smoking-related deaths, smoking-related economic costs and tobacco prevention policies focused on smoke-free workplaces.
Whereas, West Virginia continues to have one of the highest rates of cigarette smoking in the country and despite successes in reducing smoking among West Virginia youth there have yet to be any declines in smoking among West Virginia adults; and
Whereas, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes 443,000 deaths each year in the U. S. In West Virginia, on average, 3,770 WV adults age thirty-five and older die each year from diseases related to cigarette smoking and about nineteen percent of all deaths of WV adults age thirty-five and older are caused by cigarette smoking; and
Whereas, Smoking-related economic costs can be separated into: (1) Direct health care costs related to cigarette smoking; and 2) productivity losses due to smoking-related deaths; and
Whereas, It is estimated that the annual direct health care costs resulting from tobacco use is over $700 million, and the estimated annual lost productivity (lost wages and other economic contributions of those who died early) amount to over $1 billion; and
Whereas, Tobacco prevention policies and smoke-free workplaces go hand-in-hand to help combat the costs associated with tobacco use, including in those organizations such as health care facilities and related institutions dedicated to health and the discouragement of tobacco use by the general public. According to the CDC in a 2011 report, it was found that between 11.8 and 23.7 percent of health care workers in the United States, varying according to their role within the industry, are smokers; and
Whereas, The prevalence of smoking among health care workers has been perceived to undermine the public health message of these health care institutions with regards to smoking; and
Whereas, This Legislature shares these public health concerns surrounding tobacco use, and further discussion on how best to address the issue is needed; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study tobacco use in West Virginia, with emphasis on cigarette smoking prevalence, smoking-related deaths, smoking- related economic costs and tobacco prevention policies focused on smoke-free workplaces; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2014, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.