Editorial: 3 choices: Quit. Quit. Quit.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

There’s this cartoon we recall. It goes something like this:

The first panel has a young man smoking with friends. It reads: &8220;At first it made you cool.&8221;

The second panel has a middle-aged man leaning on a lunch counter and smoking: &8220;Then it was a crutch.&8221;

The third panel has the man in a hospital bed: &8220;Then it gave you cancer.&8221;

The final panel shows a lawyer rushing into the hospital room with dollar signs above his head in a thought bubble. It reads: &8220;Then it made you cool again.&8221;

Do you smoke? Quit now.

If your own death by cancer doesn’t scare you, then the harm your secondhand smoke causes children should. Quit for their sake.

We suggest you contact the Quitplan Helpline at (888) 354-7526. You can visit Quitplan.com or visit a Quitplan center in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Thief River Falls and Willmar.

Each year in Minnesota tobacco use kills more than 5,600 people. Tobacco-related illnesses cause $1.98 billion in health care costs &045;&160;and that’s only directly. It doesn’t include the indirect harm done to other people.

Quitplan celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. To date, it has helped 7,803 Minnesotans quit smoking. That results in saving Minnesotans more than $24.3 million in health care costs, according to the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco.

How can that be? A person smokes. They get cancer. They pay for treatment until they run out of money and coverage. Then the state of Minnesota picks up the remaining bill. In short, we are subsidizing the expensive side of people’s bad habit.

You’ll be a lot happier when you are free from nicotine, and so will the taxpayers of Minnesota.