Leading MN Health Groups: MDH Survey Reinforces Need for Continued Policies to Protect Youth from Tobacco
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Dec. 6, 2011 – The Raise it for Health coalition, a coalition of leading Minnesota health and nonprofit organizations, issued the following statement today in response to the 2011 Minnesota Youth Tobacco and Asthma Survey. For more information, go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/tobacco/youth.html
“After nearly a decade of huge success in reducing youth tobacco use, the 2011 Minnesota Youth Tobacco and Asthma Survey reminds us that our work is far from done. The survey found that tobacco use among Minnesota middle and high school students declined by little more than one percentage point since 2008. The use of menthol cigarettes – one of many flavors that tobacco companies use to market tobacco and make it easier to use – has more than doubled among teen smokers since 2000. In addition, more and more youth are trying new tobacco products, snus, flavored cigarillos and little cigars. Make no mistake, these findings show that young people remain a priority target for tobacco company marketing, and that in many ways, it’s working.
“To meet this challenge, we need to reinvest in tobacco prevention and pursue policies that protect youth, such as significantly raising the price of tobacco products. We know increasing the price of tobacco is one of the most effective ways to prevent youth from starting to smoke. Cheap, flavored tobacco is attractive to kids and we need to crack down on the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics. Once again, we need to make the health of our kids a priority.”
The Raise it for Health coalition includes Minnesota leading health and nonprofit organizations who share a common goal of reducing tobacco use. More than 5,100 Minnesotans still die from tobacco-related disease each year and tobacco continues to be a major driver of the state’s escalating health care costs. The coalition supports significantly raising the price of tobacco products in Minnesota because it is a proven way to prevent children from starting to use tobacco and helping existing tobacco users quit. Raise it for Health partners include: AARP Minnesota, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Catalyst, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, ClearWay MinnesotaSM, Courage Center, HealthPartners, LAAMPP, LifeScience Alley, Local Public Health Association, MAATEN, Mayo Clinic, Medica, Metro-MN Oncology Nursing Society, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Cancer Alliance, Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Public Health Association, Park Nicollet, School Nurse Organization of Minnesota, Twin Cities Medical Society and Cardiology - University of Minnesota Physicians.