Report: Minn. receives an 'F' for tobacco prevention


Minnesota received failing grades from the American Lung Association for tobacco prevention control and coverage for smokers looking to quit.

In the organization's annual "State of Tobacco Control" report, Minnesota spends more than $21 million of tobacco control programs, only about 37 percent of the $58 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Minnesota also lacks in coverage for smokers who want to quit. The federal government would like to see the state invest $10.53 per smoker. Minnesota currently spends only $1.32.

MPR says the report left out one unique smoking cessation program. Quit Plan offers free services to Minnesotans and is funded by part of a settlement the state reached with the tobacco companies in 1998.

On a more positive note, Minnesota earns an "A" for smoke-free air thanks to the smoking ban passed in 2005 and a "C" for cigarette tax, which is currently at $1.60.

KSTP reports Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, authored a cigarette tax proposal last year. Nelson plans to re-introduce the bill next week that would add $1.29 in tax per pack.

"We would love to have the problem of having so few smokers, there's now way we could collect taxes from them," Bob Moffitt of the American Lung Association in Minnesota tells the television station.

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