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South Dakota Tobacco Report Card a Mixed Bag

January 10, 2008

Sioux Falls SD – The American Lung Association's annual "State of Tobacco Control Report Card" for 2007 was released today, and for South Dakota it's a classic good news/bad news story. Bob Moffit with the American Lung Association of South Dakota says the report finds the state making improvement in some categories, but failing in others.

"Specifically we saw an improved grade for tobacco prevention and control spending where the state moved up from an F to a D. As far as smoke-free air is concerned, no movement with a grade of C. The igarette tax standing dropped from a B to a C and in the area of youth access, the Mount Rushmore State remains at an undesirable F."

Moffit says the report card drives home the important financial and physical costs associated with tobacco use in South Dakota.

"The economic costs due to smoking for South Dakota alone exceed $400,000 annually, and more than a 1,000 people per year die as a direct result of diseases linked to smoking. That's really what we're trying to prevent and what we would like to call people's attention to."

Moffit explains the tobacco control report card isn't intended to criticize, but to aid states by giving them areas in which to improve. The information allows states to focus their resources and take appropriate action. Moffit is hopeful South Dakota will answer the call for change as other states have done.

David Law/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - SD