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, reported Northern Plains News Service.
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.