Tobacco tax

Opponents of the July 1 tobacco tax increase have been quick to state the $1.60 increase will hurt tobacco sellers, drive smokers to border states to purchase less expensive cigarettes, and will therefore not provide the projected tax revenues for the state. While some people may resort to buying their tobacco elsewhere, others will simply decide to quit smoking all together, which is a primary goal of the tax increase. According to the American Lung Association, every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth. These reductions may not seem great to some, but the

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National Cancer Institute states 90 percent of lung cancer cases are smoking related, so any reduction in the smoking rate is good news.

Recent data shows smoking as responsible for $2.87 billion in excess health care costs in Minnesota alone (Blue Cross Blue Shield). Smoking is also the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. With the rising costs of healthcare, who can afford to smoke? When, per American Cancer Society, the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $6.36 yet each pack creates $35 dollars of health-related costs for the smoker, the argument that smoking is going to become too expensive is moot. Smokers really can’t afford not to quit, and we as a society can’t afford to keep paying for the high related costs of tobacco use.

If you smoke and are discouraged by the impending price increase, rather than run for the border, consider quitting instead. Your lungs, loved ones, and society will thank you. With so many options available for smoking cessation, now is the time to make the life-saving choice to quit.

Amy Gray

Brainerd

Something’s wrong

Something is wrong with the idea of Obama to take away our guns but then send weapons and ammunition to so-called rebels trying to overthrow the government of the country they live in, so-called rebels who will likely use these weapons on us someday.

Jon Main

Brainerd