To the Editor:
In July 2013, a new law went into effect raising our state tobacco tax by $1.60, causing the average price of cigarettes to raise to $7.50 a pack.
Many people were concerned about how tobacco users who have limited income would manage. As a public health professional, I am pleased to see many tobacco users are now getting professional help to quit tobacco.
A recent study done by QUITPLAN Services, a free tobacco cessation program available to any Minnesotan, shows that this tax hike is reducing the smoking rates. The increased price of cigarettes has caused an increase in many smokers to seek out professional cessation support to help them quit.
QUITPLAN Services saw an increase of 256 percent in the first two weeks of July 2013 compared to the same time period in July 2012.
This data proves that price increases work, and that our communities are one gigantic step closer to becoming tobacco free.
Thank you to everyone who supported the $1.60 increase!
Gina Johnson is the Clearway Minnesota tobacco grant coordinator with Goodhue County Human and Health Services.