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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in South Carolina. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by South Carolina’s elected officials:

  1. Increase state funding for the tobacco prevention and control program and ensure that funding is spent according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs;
  2. Strengthen tobacco retail licensing laws, including electronic cigarette retailers; and
  3. Increase the cigarette tax to the current average cigarette tax and equalize taxes for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
After years of working with partners to fight the tobacco industry’s efforts to take away authority from local governments, the South Carolina General Assembly succumbed with the passage of House Bill 3681. This legislation preempts communities from passing local ordinances regulating the ingredients, flavors and licensing of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. It also includes the establishment of a weak tobacco control retail licensing program that is unlikely to hold retailers accountable for illegal sales of tobacco products to individuals under age 21.

In 2024, the American Lung Association is calling on public officials at the state level to increase funding for South Carolina’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control to $10 million annually as well as invest all $11 million from the Juul settlement to its vital tobacco prevention and cessation program to reduce taxpayer costs, protect kids, and save lives. We will continue to educate state legislators about the health and economic benefits of strong tobacco control policies, including the state policy goals highlighted above.

South Carolina Facts
Healthcare Costs Due to Smoking: $1,906,984,487
Adult Smoking Rate: 15.40%
High School Smoking Rate: 3.30%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: N/A
Middle School Smoking Rate: 3.20%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 7,230
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking data come from the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey. A current high school tobacco use rate is not available for this state.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking-attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking-attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

South Carolina Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

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