- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State health officials report fewer adults are smoking in West Virginia.

The Bureau for Public Health says its survey shows a decline from 28.6 percent in 2011 to 24.8 percent in 2016.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of the bureau, says it’s the first evidence of more middle- and high-school students who never smoked aging into the adult population.

Health officials also credit regulations against indoor smoking, higher cigarette taxes and free services to help people quit.

They blame smoking for more than 480,000 deaths a year nationally and nearly 4,300 in West Virginia, saying it causes cancer, heart disease, strokes, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says on average smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

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