New Report: South Dakota Earns Mostly Failing Grades for Tobacco Control Policies; Experts Recommend Focus on Providing Cessation Medications

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases South Dakota grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco

Today, the American Lung Association released the 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that South Dakota received three F grades, one B grade and a D grade for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for South Dakota policymakers to focus on changing the state law which prohibits the state from buying nicotine and creating an exception for FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications, so Medicaid enrollees who smoke at higher rates can gain access to a fuller range of quit smoking treatment options.  

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in South Dakota and across the country and takes the lives of 1,250 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of South Dakota lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Molly Collins, advocacy director at the American Lung Association in South Dakota. “This year, we are calling on state policymakers to focus on covering and providing services for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved quit smoking treatments for state residents. South Dakota lawmakers can help residents quit tobacco by covering all quit smoking treatments in its Medicaid program and for state employees. This should include access to all seven FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications and all three forms of counseling without barriers, such as copays and prior authorization.”

South Dakota’s Grades

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, South Dakota received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade D
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F
     

Federal Grades Overview
This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete*

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.” 

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.

Media Resources:

For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
312-940-7624
[email protected]

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