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Sep 20th

New law will raise cost of cigarettes and help Minnesotans quit

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clearway mn logoOn July 1, a new law will take effect, and Minnesota's per-pack tax on cigarettes will go up by $1.60. This tax increase will raise the average price of a pack of cigarettes in Minnesota from approximately $6 per pack to more than $7.50 per pack. It is the only increase of its kind across the nation this year, and it will move Minnesota's national rank for cigarette taxation from 28th to 6th.

Research shows that raising the price of tobacco is a proven method to reduce both adult and youth smoking. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, raising the per-pack price by $1.60 will prevent more than 47,700 kids from becoming addicted adult smokers and help more than 36,600 current Minnesota smokers quit. In addition, the price increase will save Minnesotans more than $1.65 billion in long-term health care costs and prevent more than 25,700 premature smoking-related deaths.

"Many smokers will view this increase as an incentive to quit smoking for good," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing tobacco's harm in Minnesota. "We know that a majority of smokers want to quit, and now they have an opportunity to save more money and protect their health by quitting. The good news is that QUITPLAN Services provides free support to any Minnesotans who want to quit smoking."

With the cost of cigarettes increasing, Minnesotans can rely on ClearWay Minnesota's QUITPLAN Services for free counseling, support and access to free nicotine patches, lozenges and gum to help them quit smoking. Since launching in 2001, QUITPLAN Services has helped more than 20,000 Minnesotans successfully quit tobacco.

Previous price increases in Minnesota and nationwide have shown that price is a motivator for smokers to quit or try to quit. When the 2005 health impact fee and the 2009 federal tax increase on cigarettes went into effect, QUITPLAN Services saw a marked increase in requests for help through the phone and web programs.

Minnesotans can find out about all the free help to quit smoking through QUITPLAN Services by visiting www.quitplan.com or calling 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).

• The QUITPLAN® Helpline – The QUITPLAN Helpline, 1-888-354-PLAN, offers telephone counseling and free nicotine patches, lozenges or gum to eligible callers.
• quitplan.com – The website offers free support and advice, helpful quitting tools and activities, and the chance to connect online with thousands of others who have chosen to quit tobacco.

ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit clearwaymn.org.
 

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