Health Advocacy Groups Support IM 25

Ballot Initiative to Raise Tobacco Tax Would Improve Health of South Dakota

October 2, 2018

Sioux Falls, S.D. (Oct. 1, 2018) — The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, South Dakota State Medical Association, American Lung Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids today publicly announce their support of IM25, an initiated measure on the November ballot that would raise tobacco taxes by a dollar per pack of cigarettes to reduce smoking and save lives. The money raised would be used to reduce tuition at the state’s technical colleges.


“South Dakotans support this tobacco tax increase,” said David W. Benson, South Dakota government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We all know someone who is addicted to tobacco and needs more encouragement to quit. Of course, the best scenario is that the increase keeps kids from ever trying tobacco in the first place. We project a dollar per pack increase would reduce youth smoking by 10 percent in a single step. That’s why we support this ballot initiative.”


“Smoking takes a major toll on health and greatly increases health-related expenses; it causes heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and other serious diseases,” said Christopher T. Dietrich, MD, president of the South Dakota State Medical Association. “Of all the kids who become new smokers each year, almost one-third will ultimately die from it. So, in addition to reducing tobacco-related health care costs, the passage of IM 25 would protect our youth from the dangers of tobacco use and improve public health.”


Education and health are two priorities with widespread support in our state,” said Christopher Prosch, South Dakota government relations director for the American Heart Association. “The increase would raise a projected $20 million annually for technical colleges and reduce long-term health care costs from smoking by $148 million over time. Those two numbers alone are enough reason to support this measure.”


“Increases in tobacco taxes are a proven effective way to prevent and reduce tobacco use especially among youth, and the $1.00 increase in South Dakota’s tobacco tax as part of this initiated measure can be expected to significantly increase the price of tobacco products,” said Deborah P. Brown, Chief Mission Officer, American Lung Association. “The American Lung Association supports this initiated measure.”



This communication is made on behalf of Tuition4TechStudents committee in support of Initiated Measure 25.

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Jennifer Amundson
Associate director, media advocacy
Eagan, Minn.