It has been five years since Sullivan's Island passed South Carolina's first smoke-free workplace ordinance.
Over the past five years, South Carolinians have seen 41 cities, towns and counties recognize the need to protect the health of their workers and residents by going smoke free.
Nearly 7,000 South Carolinians die each year from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. But there is good news. Research has consistently shown a dramatic decrease in hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory conditions following implementation of a smoke-free ordinance.
Smoke-free policies are just one way to reduce the toll of tobacco use in our state. In a difficult economy, our state struggles with annual health care costs directly caused by smoking of $1.09 billion, and smoking-caused productivity losses of $1.94 billion. The availability of tobacco cessation resources to South Carolinians, such as the state's Tobacco Quitline, contributes to a reduction in this economic burden.
According to the American Lung Association, for every dollar spent on providing tobacco cessation, there is an average potential return of investment of $1.38. Funding for tobacco cessation resources not only saves money, but also saves lives. If you are a tobacco user, consider joining the thousands of South Carolina residents who are living longer, healthier lives by becoming tobacco free.
Louis Eubank, executive director
S.C. Tobacco Collaborative