Tobacco Use Prevention and Control

South Dakota State Facts

Economic Costs Due to Smoking:
Adult Prevalence:
High School Smoking Rate:
Middle School Smoking Rate:
Smoking Attributable Deaths:
Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:
Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:


The American Lung Association in South Dakota continued to fight for a strong smokefree law that protects all workers from the health effects of secondhand smoke. Together with our partners and volunteers forming the South Dakota Tobacco Free Kids Network, our focus for the 2009 session was on amending a current weak law to include protection for bar and casino workers.

Secondhand Smoke Poll

Setting the stage for the legislative session, the Lung Association supported a statewide poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in August 2008. Five hundred randomly selected likely voters across South Dakota were surveyed regarding their views on secondhand smoke and workplace protections. Key findings of the poll included:

* 80 percent of South Dakota voters view secondhand smoke as health hazard.
* Two-thirds of voters support expanding secondhand smoke protections to include bars, restaurants and gaming facilities.
* Support is strong regardless of geographic location. Whether voters live in East River/West River, in a city or a small town, in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Winner, or Clark, a broad majority supports expanding secondhand smoke protections.
* Voter support crosses political and ideological boundaries. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, conservative, moderate or liberal, political party or persuasion, voters support expanding smokefree worksites.
* Employee and customer rights are more important. Voters believe that employee and customer rights to breathe clean air are more important than the rights of smokers to smoke and owners to allow smoking inside.

The results, showing strong public support, were shared with decision makers during the Fall 2008 elections and during the 2009 legislative session.

Smoke Free Legislation

The bill to strengthen the smokefree law was passed and signed into law by Governor Rounds on March 19, 2009 and was to go into effect July 1. Almost immediately, the opposition mounted a petition campaign to challenge the law and put it on the ballot for November 2010. This action delayed the anticipated July 1st implementation. Signatures from the opposition were turned in to the Secretary of State, and they were challenged by the Tobacco Free Kids Network. The issue then went to state circuit court to resolve whether opponents had collected enough valid signatures.

On November 13, a state circuit court judge ruled that opponents of the law had collected enough valid signatures to defer the law to the November 2010 ballot, and both the state and Tobacco Free Kids Network declined to appeal the decision.  Implementation of the law will ultilmately depend on the decision of South Dakota voters next year.

The American Lung Association in South Dakota is committed to the thousands of volunteers who have worked for this law, as well as the countless South Dakota workers exposed to secondhand smoke, to do everything possible to ensure this law is implemented as passed by the legislature. We will advocate strongly for South Dakota voters to approve the law in November 2010.


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