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 calls for the following actions to be taken by South Dakota's elected officials:
- Increase the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products by $1.00 or more per pack;
- Raise the age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 years old; and
- Fully fund South Dakota's tobacco control program.
South Dakota placed a tobacco tax increase on the fall ballot by collecting over 19,000 signatures in support of the ballot initiative. Measure 25 would have increased the state tax on tobacco products by $1.00 per pack of 20 cigarettes along with the tax on other types of tobacco products such as cigars, roll-your-own, and chewing tobacco from the current rate of 35 percent of the wholesale price to 55 percent.
The measure would have created a postsecondary technical institute fund for the purposes of lowering student tuition and providing financial support to state postsecondary technical institutes. Under current law, the first $30 million of tobacco tax collected annually goes to the general fund, the next $5 million into the tobacco prevention and reduction fund. This measure would require the next $20 million to be deposited into the technical institute fund. Unfortunately, the ballot measure was not approved by South Dakota voters with the tobacco industry spending over $6 million to defeat the measure. The last increase in tobacco tax in South Dakota was in 2006, which was also a $1.00 increase done by a statewide ballot initiative.
The coalition 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