WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 19, 2019 – A report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and other public health groups shows that, amidst a youth tobacco use epidemic that is being driven by e-cigarettes, South Carolina is shortchanging important investment in prevention and cessation programs that are proven to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco products, reduce tobacco use, lower health care costs and save lives.
Broken Promises to Our Children is an annual report examining how states are spending their revenue from tobacco taxes and the Master Settlement Agreement, a landmark legal settlement reached in 1998 between the states and Big Tobacco that required tobacco companies pay more than $246 billion over time to states as compensation for the deadly toll of their products. South Carolina collects approximately $247.1 million in settlement funds and tobacco taxes every year, but will spend only 9.8% of that revenue on tobacco prevention programs in Fiscal Year 2020.
“E-cigarettes have helped cause the youth tobacco use epidemic we are seeing in communities across South Carolina,” said ACS CAN Government Relations Director Beth Johnson. “Our lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to protect our kids from a lifetime of addiction. We have the data and science to implement what works when it comes to tobacco prevention and control, and yet we are not using it to pass policies that truly protect our children. We know if we raise the price of tobacco by implementing a tobacco tax, increase funding for prevention campaigns geared towards youth and create smoke-free environments, we will have a significant impact on reducing the number of children who become addicted to tobacco.”
Smoking remains the No. 1 cause of preventable cancer death in America. ACS CAN is working to prevent the use of tobacco products by advancing a comprehensive tobacco control agenda that includes regular and significant increases in the price of tobacco products, full investments in tobacco cessation and prevention programs, implementation of comprehensive smoke-free policies that include e-cigarettes and restrictions on the sale of all flavored tobacco products.”
In Fiscal Year 2020, states will spend less than 3% or $739.7 million of the $27.2 billion in revenue they receive from the Master Settlement Agreement and tobacco taxes on prevention and cessation programs. No state currently funds tobacco prevention programs at the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and only six states—Alaska, California, Delaware, Maine, North Dakota and Oklahoma—appropriate more than 50% of the CDC recommended funding level.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.