Disagrees with cigarette editorial

Published 10:58 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I was frustrated to read an editorial recently that suggested the tobacco tax increase introduced by Senator Carla Nelson and Representative Mike Benson, both Rochester Republicans, is part of a disappointing trend in Minnesota.

In actuality, increasing the tobacco tax is meant to halt a much more devastating trend in our state — Minnesota tobacco use and the death toll it brings with it.

Tobacco is one of the top causes of cancer, linked to leukemia, cancers of the pancreas, liver and many more. In Minnesota, one in two citizens will be diagnosed with cancer and the disease has become the number one killer here.

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But research shows tobacco tax increases can go a long way to address this. They are one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, especially among our youth, and therefore, reduce the burden this deadly product has on our state. This policy could save over 20,000 lives from smoking-related deaths, prevent 35,000 kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products and help 26,000 smokers quit.

Minnesota has taken the fight against tobacco very seriously recently and this proposal to increase the tobacco tax is part of that positive trend in our state. This common-sense, cost-effective health policy will reduce cancer and save lives and therefore, should be seriously considered as the session continues.


Linda J. Baier,

American Cancer Society volunteer,