Reducing the Toll of Tobacco a Priority for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in 2018

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ACS CAN Looks Forward to Working with the Legislature on Tobacco Control Issues by Raising the Taxes on Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

Columbia, SC – January 29, 2018 – As lawmakers dive into the new year the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is looking ahead to what public health initiatives can be accomplished in 2018. South Carolina has a long way to go when it comes to tobacco control issues. Each year in South Carolina 2,500 kids under the age of eighteen become new daily smokers, 7,200 adults die from smoking and annual health care costs in South Carolina directly caused by smoking are $1.9 billion. 

Don’t worry, ACS CAN has solutions. A one-time increase in the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack would save thousands of lives and would raise millions of dollars for the state. The increase would be a win-win for South Carolina. A $1.50 increase would help 37,900 adults who smoke quit and would keep 26,500 youth under the age of eighteen from becoming adults who smoke. Furthermore, it would generate $264.51 million in new annual reliable revenue. 

ACS CAN would also like to see the legislature increase the tax on other tobacco products (OTP) to 47 percent of the wholesale price to parallel the new cigarette tax rate. With a current 5 percent on the manufactures price tax, South Carolina has one of the lowest OTP tax rates in the country. Smokeless tobacco use has been identified as a source of nicotine addiction and can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas. Furthermore, raising OTP tax rates would generate $61.4 million in new annual revenue as well as reduce tobacco use, its harms and costs.

By significantly increasing taxes on cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco and all other tobacco products, lawmakers can work to save lives, reduce health care costs and generate new revenue for the state. 

ACS CAN looks forward to working with the legislature to educate them on the toll of tobacco on our great state and we hope to start the conversation that will change the way tobacco is taxed in South Carolina. 

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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