As a state what are we doing to prevent the use of tobacco products? The numbers are not good. And the American Lung Association has given South Dakota mostly failing grades on its efforts.

Reported by Dakota News Network, in its 18th annual State of Tobacco Control study, the association failed South Dakota for tobacco prevention programs, levels for tobacco taxes, coverage for services to quit tobacco, and minimum age of sale for tobacco products. The state received only one passing grade - a B in strength of smoke free workplace laws.

Researchers say one of the most alarming findings from the study was the increase in vaping usage nationwide.

ALA Director of Health Promotions Pat McKone said South Dakota has a smoking rate of 19 percent. However, the youth vaping rate rose to 27.5 percent - a 135 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use in just the past two years.

What can we do? Dakota News Now writes, McKone said the state can take a number of steps to decrease tobacco use, including raising the cigarette tax and investing in tobacco prevention programs.

Meanwhile, a South Dakota House committee has advanced a bill that would change state law to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21.

The state law would penalize underage buyers or the clerks who sell to those buyers. The American Cancer Society opposes the bill because it doesn't target retailers.

Source: Dakota News Now, Associated Press

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