Joint Campaign for Clean Indoor and Outdoor Air Scores Victories in South Carolina

Despite tough opposition in the tobacco-growing state of South Carolina, local tobacco-control policies flourish

Dates of Project: January 2008 through December 2009

Field of Work: Advocacy for clean air laws

Problem Synopsis: Local tobacco-control policies have faced tough opposition in the tobacco-growing state of South Carolina. In 2006, three South Carolina towns passed ordinances banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. Opponents immediately challenged two of the laws in court, effectively putting at risk any local efforts to go smoke-free.

Meanwhile the port of Charleston was building a new facility that would increase by thousands the number of diesel trucks entering the area—worsening the already poor quality of outdoor air.

Synopsis of the Work: With funding from RWJF's Tobacco Policy Change, the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network promoted laws in cities and towns throughout the state that would ban smoking in all workplaces and public spaces. The network also joined with the Coastal Conservation League to educate the public and legislators about the need for indoor and outdoor clean air policies.

Key Results: By the end of 2007, the network had helped 12 cities and towns in South Carolina pass strong laws banning all smoking in indoor workplaces and public places. The advocates also worked to stop five bills in the state legislature that aimed to preempt local tobacco-control laws.

On March 31, 2008, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that "preemption of local smoke-free ordinances does not exist in the state." By the end of 2011, 43 cities and towns in the state had pass strong tobacco-control laws.

The State Ports Authority agreed to significantly reduce emissions of hazardous diesel particulates at the Port of Charleston beginning in 2010.