A new report from the American Cancer Society says the state is falling short on cancer-fighting policies.
Beth Johnson of the group’s South Carolina chapter said nearly 20 percent of adults in the state use tobacco, which takes a toll on the body. “South Carolina is one of only three states in the country that did not receive a green, or positive rating in our report How Do You Measure Up,” Johnson said.
She said tobacco use leads to higher spending on healthcare. “South Carolina is spending about $1.9 billion a year in smoking-related healthcare costs,” Johnson said.
Johnson said raising the tobacco tax could be tool to reduce its use. “Which has been an issue in our state that we really have not touched and bothered for several years. The last tobacco tax increase was passed in 2010 and it took us ten years to pass that tax.”
South Carolina currently charges a 57 cent per-pack excise tax on cigarettes. The amount is among the lowest nationwide, but the 2010 change was controversial for a massive jump from 7 cents per-pack.
The 15th annual report illustrates where states stand on issues that play a critical role in reducing cancer incidence and death. It identifies and measures nine specific policy actions that state legislatures can take to fight cancer, which the American Cancer Society believes would save lives and money. It also focuses on issues relating to tobacco control policies, cancer prevention and improving access to care.