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South Carolina Failing in Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use in Latest State of Tobacco Control Report

American Lung Association’s annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report finds South Carolina has a lot of work to do to protect citizens, youth from the harms of tobacco use, secondhand smoke

(January 25, 2017) -

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The American Lung Association’s latest “State of Tobacco Control” report has found that in 2016 South Carolina failed to do enough to implement proven-effective policies that would save lives. The 15th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and shows that most states and the federal government have earned poor grades.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our nation, and 19.7 percent of South Carolina residents currently smoke,” said Martha C. Bogdan, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Southeast. “We know what works when it comes to preventing and reducing tobacco use. What we need is for South Carolina policymakers to implement the policies and programs called for in the ‘State of Tobacco Control’ that would save lives and protect kids from a lifetime of addiction.”

The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failures of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use, and the report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous health toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. This year, the report has also added a new grade on efforts to increase the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21.

South Carolina’s poor grades this year show that much more must be and should be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven-effective policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in South Carolina. While South Carolina has made progress in the passage of local smokefree air laws, more work is needed to reduce the toll of tobacco use in our state. To reduce tobacco use among youth and adults, the American Lung Association in South Carolina supports increasing the $5 million dollar allocation in state tobacco prevention funding, increasing the tax on tobacco products, and increasing the number of city and county smokefree air ordinances.

“It’s no secret how to reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Bogdan. “We urge South Carolina’s elected officials to act quickly to implement policies that will save lives and prevent tobacco-caused death and disease.”

For media interested in speaking about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 904-309-8308 (office) / 770-367-1501 (mobile). South Carolina’s report can be viewed and downloaded here:

About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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