CHARLESTON, W.Va. --The rate of West Virginia women who smoke while pregnant has declined over the years but it's still "depressing," a Huntington medical professor said Thursday.
"I see smoking in pregnancy all the time," said Dr. Brenda Dawley, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
"It's quite depressing actually, how bad it is in West Virginia," Dawley said.
Dawley said the rate of smoking among pregnant women in West Virginia is about 35 percent and is higher in some counties. That's decreased from 50 percent 12 years ago, she said.
Dawley, who practices at Cabell Huntington Hospital, made her comments Thursday during a workshop at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Integrated Behavioral Health Conference at the Charleston Civic Center.
Dawley said West Virginia's smoking rate among women, unlike many other states, has not decreased drastically.
"Except for Mississippi and Kentucky," she said, "all the other states are showing a dramatic decrease in their adult smoking rate."
Part of that problem is a cultural acceptance of smoking in West Virginia, but it's also the price of cigarettes, she said.
"We have some of the cheapest cigarettes," Dawley said. She added that a pack of cigarettes costs $9.50 in Chicago and $15 in London.