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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in South Carolina 2018

South Carolina cigarette use among adults and high school students

Cigarette use: South Carolina*

  • In 2016, 20.0 percent of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1 percent.¹
  • In 2017, 10.0 percent of high school students smoked on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8 percent.²

Other tobacco product use: South Carolina

  • In 2015, 2.8 percent of adults used e-cigarettes, 1.2 percent used smokeless tobacco  and 2.5 percent smoked cigars.³
  • In 2017, 11.9 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes, 8.4 percent used smokeless tobacco and 10.8 percent smoked cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rates were 13.2 percent, 5.5 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively.²
South Carolina Other tobacco product use among adults and high school students

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

  • South Carolina received $243.8 million (estimated) in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2018.
  • Of this, the state allocated $5.0 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 9.8 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.
  • Smoking-caused health care costs: $1.90 billion per year
  • Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $2.35 billion per year

South Carolina tobacco laws

Tobacco taxes

South Carolina 2018 tobacco taxes
  • South Carolina is ranked 45th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of 57 cents per pack (enacted July 2010), compared to the national average of $1.73. (Connecticut and New York have the highest tax at $4.35 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)⁶ ⁷ ⁸
  • All other tobacco products are taxed at 5 percent of the manufacturer’s price.⁶ ⁷

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in childcare facilities.⁶ ⁷
  • Smoking restrictions are required in government workplaces, schools and recreational/cultural facilties.⁶ ⁷
  • There are no smoking restrictions for private workplaces, restaurants, bars, casinos/gaming establishments and retail stores.⁶ ⁷

Youth access laws

  • The minimum age of sale for tobacco products in South Carolina is 18.
  • Minors are prohibited from buying alternative nicotine products, including e-cigarettes.

Quitting statistics and benefits

  • The CDC estimates that 54.4 percent of daily adult smokers in South Carolina quit smoking for one or more days in 2016.
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.**
  • South Carolina’s state quit line invests $6.68 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.10.
  • South Carolina does not have a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.

Notes and references

Updated June 2018

* National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

** The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban). Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

  1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.
  2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
  3. CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Tobacco Product Use Among Adults - United States, 2014-2015, MMWR.
  4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later FY2018, 2017.
  5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States, 2018.
  6. American Lung Association, SLATI State Reports, 2017.
  7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2018.
  8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings, 2018.
  9. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2016.