South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..

July 5, 2008 - The bill passed to raise the lowest-in-the-nation 7-cent cigarette tax by 50 cents was vetoed by Governor Sanford. The SC House fell some 20 votes short of the two-third needed to override a veto by the governor. The bill if passed would have generated an estimated $159 million, of this $5 million would have been used for smoking prevention and cessation programs. Then in June 2008, lawmakers cut the $2 million the state was investing in anti-smoking efforts; so, as of now (7/3/2008), the state will spend no money on these programs. This is unfortunate since even the governor was for the tax increase on cigarettes. Governor Sanford: "We've been calling for an increase to the cigarette tax for five years, but the question has always been what happens to the money." The governor wanted to use the money collected to be used for tax relief for SC citizens. He was concerned the rise in the cigarette tax if used to grow the Medicaid benefit would result in fewer people smoking which could eventually result in a financial shortfall for the state.

Sanford didn't realize the increase would save the state money because fewer kids, teens and adults would be smoking. Kelly Davis, an anti-tobacco advocate, had it right but she was a little late - she noted if lawmakers cannot agree on how to spend this money then raise the tax and decide later on how to spend it. Reference: Help goes up in smoke by Staff Reports,, 7/3/2008. In our January 21, 2008 in our news brief we wondered if the SC lawmakers would take the proper action to improve the health of citizens of SC. It turned out worse then anyone could have expected. There was a proposal to ban smoking in cars with children present - we are not sure what has happened with this. More - other related news briefs: South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto.. and Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??. Click on image to enlarge..