Smoking is a drain on taxes and lives

Published 9:05 am Monday, April 20, 2009

Tom Briant threw out a lot of numbers about tobacco taxes in his op-ed piece (Cigarette taxes are at outrageous levels, April 15, 2009). I’d like to throw out a number, too: $2 billion. That’s the amount of excess health care costs in Minnesota caused by smoking. Here’s another number: in Minnesota tobacco use leads to over 5,500 deaths each year.

These are the true costs of tobacco – and we all pay these costs.

Raising tobacco taxes has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to help people quit smoking and stop kids from even starting to smoke in the first place. These are all the numbers I need to convince me that we need to increase the price of tobacco in Minnesota. I’m glad to hear the legislature seems to understand this and I hope they take steps to increase the tobacco tax in Minnesota.

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Jessie Saul