WASHINGTON -- South Dakota ranks 12th in the country in funding programs that prevent children from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released Thursday by a coalition of public health organizations.

Sister state North Dakota ranks first in the same report, with Wyoming sixth, Minnesota 11th, Montana 14th, Iowa 24th and Nebraska 27th.

The report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids challenges states to do more by highlighting Florida, which has cut its high school smoking rate to a record low 7.5 percent. The report details the lives and health care dollars each state could save if it brought its teen smoking rate down to Florida's.

If South Dakota reduced its high school smoking rate from the current 16.5 percent to 7.5 percent, it would prevent 28,360 kids from becoming adult smokers, saving 9,810 lives and $496.3 million in future health care costs, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The group says currently in South Dakota, tobacco annually claims 1,300 lives and costs the state $373 million in health care bills.

Other key findings for South Dakota in the report include:

• South Dakota spends $4.5 million per year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 38.5 percent of the $11.7 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• South Dakota will collect $84.7 million in revenue this year from the 1998 tobacco settlement andtobaccotaxes butwillspend only 5.3 percent of the money on tobacco prevention programs.

• Tobacco companies spend $21.5 million per year to market their products in South Dakota – five times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

South Dakota is doing better than most states in funding tobacco prevention programs according to the group, but it says the state still falls short of the CDC's recommendations.

The full report and state-specific information can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org/statereport.