Urgent Stop Big Tobacco Today!


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Dear [Decision Maker],

Cigarette manufacturers have effectively used flavors, including menthol in cigarettes as a promotional tool to lure in and addict new smokers, particularly young people, until the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act became law in 2009. When the law, which prohibited the use of characterizing flavors in cigarettes, took effect, there was a spike in the use of flavors in other tobacco products. Flavored e-cigarettes have exploded on the market with one study identifying more than 7, 700 unique e-cigarette flavors. The overwhelming majority of these e-cigarette flavors are fruit or candy and dessert flavors and are often paired with flashy marketing campaigns that appeal to the youth.

Tobacco-related illnesses are expensive and harmful for all of us. Each year in South Carolina, smoking is estimated to cost $1.9 billion in direct health care costs, including $476 million in Medicaid costs. Additionally, South Carolina experiences $2.35 billion in smoking-caused productivity losses annually.

Retailers can adapt to varying local laws.

Businesses in our state are used to complying with a variety of local laws. For example, businesses comply with different zoning laws, parking and traffic restrictions, health regulations, and tax laws. Local business owners are familiar with their local community laws and have no reason to be confused by varying laws in different communities. Businesses that cross jurisdictional lines during their work--whether city, county, state, or national lines--understand that laws differ among jurisdictions and that they need to know the laws in the areas in which they operate. Businesses that deal across state lines would not expect state laws to be changed to coincide with each other. Companies would not expect uniform national laws. Tobacco regulations are no different than other regulations that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Consumers tend to continue with their normal buying patterns in terms of location, despite regulatory or price changes. They do not typically drive long distances to avoid such changes.

The country's leading health organizations are united in their opposition to preemption in tobacco control beyond just smoke-free policies for the reasons previously established. The American Medical Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the State Attorneys General Working Group on Tobacco and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids all oppose preemption.

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