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Letter: Help in quitting tobacco use

Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable death nationwide. But the new tobacco tax increase that went into effect July 1 should help change that in Minnesota.

We know that tobacco causes about 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 90 percent of lung cancers. This year, in Minnesota, it’s estimated that more than 9,600 people will die from cancer. Imagine how many deaths we can prevent in our state if we reduce tobacco use in our state.

Our legislators had that in mind when they passed this new law, because research shows one of the most effective ways to bring down tobacco use rates is by increasing the price of the product. This law isn’t made to punish anyone. In fact, it’s made to improve the health of everyone.

Seventy percent of smokers want to quit and many have tried. Relapse is common, but smokers shouldn’t be discouraged. Quitting at any age can be of great benefit. If you or someone you know struggles with tobacco addiction but can’t afford the higher price and wants to quit, help is out there. Uninsured smokers can contact or call 1-888-354-7526.

Ronald Holmgren, M.D., Chief Executive Officer,  Affiliated Community Medical Centers. Willmar