New Evidence on Teen Smoking Reinforces the Need for Increasing the Price of Tobacco in Minnesota Study finds 2009 federal tobacco price increase cut number of youth smokers by at least 220,000 in the first two months

MINNEAPOLIS, May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A compelling new study released today reinforces the Raise it for Health coalition's call for a tobacco price increase in Minnesota of $1.50 per pack.  

The study released today by the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that the significant federal tobacco tax increase implemented on April 1, 2009, reduced the number of youth smokers by at least 220,000 and the number of youth smokeless tobacco users by at least 135,000 in the first two months alone.

The study also found that the number of youth prevented from smoking and using smokeless tobacco would be much larger over time.

"This evidence reinforces the need for legislators to increase the price of all tobacco products in Minnesota. The study shows increasing the price of tobacco leads to decreases in youth tobacco use within a very short period of time," said David Willoughby, CEO of ClearWay Minnesota(SM).

"We can't ignore tobacco's toll on our youth. Each year, 6,800 Minnesota kids become addicted smokers. Increasing the price of cigarettes is one of the most effective tools we have to curb this deadly trend."  

When the federal cigarette tax increase went into effect in 2009, calls to ClearWay Minnesota's QUITPLAN® Helpline jumped by 150 percent.  More people contacted QUITPLAN Services in the first week of April 2009 than did in the entire month of April 2008.

"We know a tobacco price increase is an effective stop-smoking tool. We know that most Minnesota smokers want to quit and a price increase can be the motivation they need to make that important, life-saving step.  This new data proves that a tobacco price increase would save the lives of thousands of Minnesotans by keeping kids from smoking and encouraging current smokers to quit," said Willoughby.

To obtain a copy of the study, go to: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18026

About ClearWay Minnesota(SM)

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 QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit www.clearwaymn.org.

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota



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