(KSOO) — The State of Tobacco Control report was not very kind to South Dakota. Failing grades in many categories dominate the survey put forth by the American Lung Association. At the basis of the study released Wednesday, Pat McKone of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Lung Association says the state is underfunding prevention programs by half the recommended amount and raising the tobacco tax would be a tremendous first step.
Another area of concern involves the lack of programs available with minimal barriers to help people quit smoking. McKone states that a good number of smokers are looking for ways to kick the addiction.
The report also shows that 22 percent of South Dakota’s population smokes which is higher than the national average of 16.4 percent.
McKone is also concerned about the rate of tobacco users of both conventional and e-cigarettes in South Dakota high schools which is approximately 30 percent. Raising the legal age of smoking to 21 years old would be a good start to reducing that number.