As a Bloomington resident and a member of the public health community, I am extremely pleased with Rep. Ann Lenczewski’s leadership this early in the legislative session. She introduced legislation to significantly increase the price of tobacco, which is the single biggest influence in helping adults quit.
If passed, Lenczewski’s bill will have dramatic public health benefits in Minnesota.
According to calculations from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a national nonprofit organization, a $1.50 per pack increase will help 36,600 current smokers quit and save 25,700 Minnesotans from premature smoking-related deaths.
Smoking costs Minnesota $3 billion in excess heath care costs according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which is equal to $554 per every man, woman and child in the state. We clearly need to do more to minimize the detrimental impact and expense tobacco has on Minnesotans and our state.
While tobacco is still a big problem in Minnesota, Lenczewski’s proposal is a solid solution to tackling the ongoing problem in our state. I firmly support Lenczewski and hope other legislators will follow her lead.