A new documentary co-produced with ECHO TV educates Minnesota’s diverse communities about the dangers of tobacco. The program, “The Harm of Commercial Tobacco in Our Community,” will be broadcast in eight languages and will begin airing on Sunday, January 6, on tpt’s MN Channel.
New research published in Tobacco Control finds that aggressive couponing strategies are making Minnesota smokers less likely to quit. The study found that 80 percent of those receiving coupons redeemed them, and that women, young adults and heavy smokers were the most targeted. The University of Minnesota used data from the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey to create the study.
Raising the price of tobacco is the best way to prevent kids from smoking and to motivate smokers to quit. Research shows that here in Minnesota, price increases were the biggest driver of smoking declines over the past 19 years. But there has been a lull in the action in recent years.
2012 gave us two very different case studies to consider. In June, Illinois implemented a $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes. This is something to cheer, and provides a model for Minnesota to follow.
Unfortunately, when a similar proposal was put on the ballot in California, tobacco companies spent $47 million on TV ads to defeat it – a staggering amount even by political campaign standards – and the measure failed by less than 1 percent.
Tobacco companies are well aware of how effective tobacco taxes are at reducing smoking – and this should motivate us to fight even harder. We are no longer a leader in tobacco taxes; in fact, we rank in the bottom half of states nationally.
We can’t afford to let the tobacco industry win this battle. Minnesotans must make their voices heard and demand that our lawmakers take a stronger stance against tobacco. We have fallen behind – and we need to catch up.
The campaign shows Minnesotans that tobacco is still an urgent problem in our state. Three new TV ads, the interactive website www.stillaproblem.com and other campaign elements ask Minnesotans to remember that smoking kills more people than alcohol, murders, car accidents, AIDS, illegal drugs and suicide combined.