Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in South Dakota. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in South Dakota calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Increase the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products;
- Raise the age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 years old; and
- Protect South Dakota's comprehensive smokefree workplace law.
The South Dakota Department of Health along with national, state, and local partners continue to work together on implementation of the five-year tobacco strategic plan. The four goal areas of the plan include: preventing initiation of tobacco use, promoting quitting among adults and youth, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among population groups. Priority populations include: American Indians, Medicaid enrollees, pregnant women, people with mental illness and substance use disorders, spit tobacco users, and youth and young adults.
During the 2017 legislative session, the Speaker of the House of Representatives submitted a proposal to the Secretary of State that would increase the tobacco tax by $1.00 per pack via a ballot initiative with part of the revenues dedicated to lower technical school tuition and provide scholarships along with funding tobacco prevention and awareness programs. If the adequate number of signatures are collected, the question of raising the tobacco tax will be on the ballot in November 2018.
The coalition in South Dakota, including the American Lung Association in South Dakota, has strong roots across the state and is working together to support tobacco control best practices and continues to work together to implement the strategic plan to reduce the harm from tobacco in South Dakota.