Letter: Increasing tobacco taxes will help adults quit

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.

 

Alexis Bylander

Bloomington

  • Country Claire Christison

    I respectfully, yet, wholeheartedly disagree with this post, cigarette costs have been increasing; however, the amount of smokers has not dramatically dropped because of the increase. The cost increase has made it more difficult for smokers to afford cigarettes; however, they find a way. Just as all of us motorists have found a way to pay the increase in fuel. After smoking for almost 30 years, I quit by using an electronic cigarette, while it is not a complete stop of nicotine intake, I am no longer inhaling noxious fumes nor am I causing any cigarette odor. For me, the electronic cigarette has been an easy transition and I have not experienced any of the side effects that smoking cessation pills have warned on. Increasing the cost of cigarettes will not be the reason that someone quits; however, it will shift how their money is spent.

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