Patients, Health Professionals and Public Health Groups Warn Against Tobacco Preemption Bills

Issuing Letter to Lawmakers Urging Opposition to Bills That Would Leave Youth More Vulnerable to Tobacco Addiction and the Industry’s Aggressive Marketing

April 6, 2021

COLUMBIA, SC – April 6, 2021– Today, over 11 national and local public health groups issued a letter to members of the South Carolina General Assembly, urging them to oppose bills H. 3681 and S. 498. The recently introduced legislation would prevent local communities from passing laws that protect children from tobacco, specifically the industry’s aggressive marketing to today’s youth via flavored tobacco products.

The coalition, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), represents a wide range of concerned community leaders from school nurses to epidemiologists, pediatricians and more speaking out on the threat such legislation poses for South Carolina families.

The below are key excerpts from the letter on their behalf.

“We urge you to oppose H. 3681 and S. 498 that would prevent local communities from protecting our children from tobacco companies.

“The nationwide youth tobacco rate remains at its highest level in 20 years, driven by the aggressive use of flavors to target kids and South Carolina has a higher than national average of high school students that use e-cigarettes. 

“On behalf of the patients, families, and communities we serve, we urge you to oppose H. 3618 and S. 498 and help prevent another generation from becoming addicted to tobacco products.”

The below is a statement on behalf of ACS CAN and can be attributed to Beth Johnson, ACS CAN Government Relations Director for South Carolina.

“If enacted, such legislation would deny parents, public health officials, community leaders and local elected officials the necessary means to address today’s growing youth tobacco epidemic.

“The under regulation of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by the state demands strong, local laws that protect our children from a lifetime of addiction. In order to progress public health, local governments must be able to pass and enforce proven policies to protect the public, particularly our youth from deadly tobacco products including e-cigarettes.

“By removing local policymakers and local policies from the process, preemption will affect our communities’ ability to implement protective policies that help children stay healthy, so they can learn and grow for years to come.

“Our local leaders have a right and responsibility to pass local policies that meet the pressing public health needs of their residents and such work is crucial to reducing the cancer, heart and lung disease burden in our state.”



About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting

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