1. Increase funding for the state's tobacco prevention program;
2. Increase the number of comprehensive local smokefree air laws; and
3. Increase the price of tobacco products to reduce tobacco use among youth and adults.
The American Lung Association in South Carolina and partners in the South Carolina Tobacco-Free Collaborative continued to support passage of smokefree air ordinances at the local level in 2016. The state has about 62 local comprehensive smokefree ordinances covering about 40 percent of the state's population. Local governments have also begun to address smoking in parks and other recreational venues. A positive by-product of these ordinances has been increases in tobacco-free school campuses and tobacco-free colleges and universities. Funding for the state Tobacco Prevention and Control programs remained at $5 million in fiscal year 2017. The program receives all of its state funding from cigarette tax revenues, despite the fact that tobacco Master Settlement Agreement dollars are available. Legislation that would require cigarette tax stamps starting in 2019 did pass in the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor.
The South Carolina Tobacco-Free Collaborative (SCTFC) released Ending the Epidemic: Plan for a Tobacco-Free South Carolina, 2015-2020 in December 2015. This plan, developed by the SCTFC in collaboration with state partners and community coalitions, outlined strategies and recommendations to help reduce tobacco's toll on the Palmetto State. An evaluation of the previous five-year plan showed
* A 19 percent decrease in the high school smoking rate;
* An 8 percent decrease in the state adult smoking rate;
* A 47 percent decrease in the middle school smoking rate; and
* A 32 percent decrease in per capita cigarette pack sales.
Initial evidence suggests the following interventions contributed to the progress:
* A cigarette tax increase of $1.12 per pack ($.50 state, $.62 federal);
* A six-fold increase in the number of smokefree communities;
* Increases in the numbers of tobacco-free school districts and college campuses; and
* State and federal quit-smoking media campaigns.
The American Lung Association in South Carolina continues to work for more local smokefree air ordinances. We support improvements in quit smoking benefits for workers, increased tobacco taxes and increasing the $5 million dollar allocation in state tobacco prevention funding.