Kicking the habit: SC group pleased with drugstore chain's decis - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Kicking the habit: SC group pleased with drugstore chain's decision to stop selling tobacco products

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It's not always easy to grab the attention of a teenager.

This new anti-smoking spot might do just that.

The public service announcement released this week by the Food and Drug Administration is the first of its kind targeting the thousands of young people who every day try their first cigarette.

Yes a couple of the new videos are a bit graphic.

But a South Carolina anti-smoking group doesn't have a problem with the approach as long as it hits home.

"You see some imagery that kind of makes you sit up and pay attention," said Christie James with the SC Tobacco-Free Collaborative. "And yeah, that's the idea. Cut through the clutter."

The Palmetto State has over a period of years taken its own steps to discourage tobacco use, raising the per pack tax to 50 cents in 2010 from what had been the lowest tax in the nation at just seven cents.

That was the first increase in the cigarette tax in more than three decades, a significant change for a state where tobacco production had been a big part of the economy.

Now the landscape is changing, more so with word today that the CVS pharmacy chain will end sales of tobacco products here and nationwide as of October.

"Tobacco use is indeed the cause of premature death in our state, in our country," James said. "You're hard pressed to find another thing that's as destructive as tobacco use. It is especially in certain parts of the state, a little bit more of a challenge because of the cultural factors. But the bottom line is we are succeeding. You know our smoking rate has gone down among teenagers from 2011 to the 2013 youth tobacco survey. And teenagers in our state are waking up as well."

As tobacco products begin to become less popular and scarcer, substitutes have appeared.

Electronic or E-cigarettes for instance, which supply users with a hit of nicotine while generating only water vapor instead of smoke.

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