Letter: Urge lawmakers to strengthen tobacco tax policy in Minnesota
In Minnesota, we are currently facing a youth nicotine epidemic, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease.
We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing tobacco addiction, including preventing youth from starting and helping smokers quit. The number one most effective way to accomplish this goal is to keep tobacco prices high.
One recent study found two-thirds of our state’s progress to reduce smoking in the last 25 years is due to tobacco price increases. High prices are especially powerful in reducing youth tobacco use, since youth are far more responsive than adults to price increases.
Right now, our state lawmakers are discussing a wide-ranging tax package, and I encourage them to use this opportunity to stand up for kids and health by keeping tobacco prices high. I also urge them not to let the tobacco industry stand in the way of our efforts to reduce tobacco’s harm.
As new tobacco products come into the market – especially those that are heavily marketed to kids – we must make sure that all products and devices are covered by strong taxes.
We can create a smoke-free generation, but it will take all of our efforts. I hope that lawmakers will join this work by strengthening our tobacco tax policy to help adults quit and prevent kids from starting.