SOUTH CAROLINA, SC (WMBF) - Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease in both South Carolina and the nation as a whole, according to South Carolina Tobacco Free Collaborative.
Tobacco use costs South Carolina at least $4.25 billion each year. Annual healthcare costs directly caused by smoking are $1.9 billion and the portion covered by the state medicaid program is $476 million. The tobacco industry spends an estimated $194 million annually to promote tobacco.
Increasing tobacco taxes could lead to lower use of tobacco. SC cigarette tax ranked the 44th lowest in the U.S., taxed at only 5 percent of the manufactures price. South Carolina has made efforts in the fight against tobacco, including a 50 cent increase in the cigarette excise tax.
Despite progress over the last seven years, tobacco use remains the most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in South Carolina, according to SCTFC. Each year an estimated 7,200 people die prematurely from smoking which accounts for about one in five every deaths.
A report from the US Surgeon Generals landmark said, in 2014 cigarettes are more deadly today then they were 50 years ago.
"The good news is that we know what works to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. We hope South Carolina residents will join us in these efforts," said Executive Director Megan Hicks."
South Carolina goals to help eliminate tobacco include:
- Prevent young people from starting to use tobacco
- Provide everyone access to smoke-free and tobacco-free environments
- Make cessation resources available to those who wish to quit
- Ensure funding to sustain a tobacco prevention and control program that supports healthier lives and communities.
Ending the Epidemic: Plan for a tobacco free South Carolina 2015-2020 can be found here.
Mobile users, to view a slideshow of tobacco photos and graphs, tap here