South Dakota Grades Stand Firm In Annual Tobacco Report

Sioux Falls, SD (January 22, 2014)

Fifty years after the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking was released, South Dakota’s grades in the annual American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control Report are holding steady.  In the report issued today, South Dakota earned an “F” in tobacco prevention and control program funding; a “B” grade for smokefree air; and a “C” grade for the state’s cigarette tax; and a “D” grade for cessation, which revaluates services and products offered to state employees and Medicaid recipients to help them quit smoking, as well as state funding of “Quit Line” services. 

According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s report on smoking issued this month, smoking and secondhand smoke are now responsible for nearly a half million premature deaths each year.  The American Lung Association and other groups have pledged to get adult smoking rates to 10 percent or less within the next 10 years.

While the grading may seem harsh for a state that adopted a statewide smoke-free law by public referendum three years ago, the grades reflects the very real challenges to public health tobacco still poses to South Dakotans, health officials say.

 “While we celebrate the smokefree air law and how far we have come since 1964, we also have to acknowledge a lack of funding for both prevention and cessation efforts,” said Penny Gottier Fena, executive director of the American Lung Association in South Dakota. “While adult smoking rates have dropped to less than half what they were in 1964, tobacco use is more dangerous than ever, and it remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in South Dakota.”

A link to the entire report is available online at