Cigarette smokers in South Dakota may be breathing a bit easier knowing an extra dollar tax on their pack of smokes will not be happening.

The South Dakota House State Affairs committee killed the bill of 9 to 4, which would have affected all tobacco products in South Dakota.

Speaker of the house Mark Mickelson sponsored the bill, saying the additional dollar per pack revenue could off set tuition prices for the state's technical schools and help fund nursing homes.  The estimated revenue was projected to be 30 million dollars annually.

Speaking against the bill was lobbyist Jim Hood on behalf of the South Dakota Retailer's Association.  Hood said South Dakotans already pay some of the higher prices for tobacco in the Midwest.

According to the CDC, South Dakotans rank fairly high for tobacco use, just over 20% of the population.  The only states with a righter rate of smokers include Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Mickelson said he was following sage advice from someone who told him years ago to taking funding from something you want to see decrease to fund something you'd like to see increase.  Mickelson would like to see a decrease in smokers in the state, while providing additional funding and thereby reduction of tuition rates for those attending South Dakota technical schools.


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