American Lung Association: Minnesota should do more to prevent smoking

Categories: Health
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The ALA Minnesota would like to see more anti-smokinng advertising and higher cigarette taxes.
The American Lung Association thinks Minnesota should do more to counteract tobacco use.

In its annual report, the ALA gives the state an "F" grade in the area of spending on tobacco prevention and control and a "C" with regard to cigarette taxation levels. On the flipside, Minnesota gets an "A" when it comes to having smokefree air.

Bob Moffitt, communications director for the ALA in Minnesota, said one of the most important things the state can do going forward is to prevent kids from lighting up, both through advertising and by making cigarettes more expensive.

According to Moffitt, the state currently spends about $19.5 million annually on tobacco prevention. He would like to see that amount increased to the Center for Disease Control's recommended level, which is about $58 million.

That money would "counteract the billions that tobacco companies pour into all types of advertising," he said, adding that "when you go into a convenience store and see all the signs for tobacco products, lots of them at eye level, and lots of them marketing fruit-flavored tobaccos, stuff that adults normally wouldn't go for -- it's pretty nefarious."

The ALA would also like to see Minnesota increase its cigarette tax, which currently clocks in at a close-to-the-national-average $1.56 per-pack.

Referring to the protracted wrangling state legislators engaged in last summer to close a $5 billion budget shortfall, Moffitt said a cigarette tax increase would've been "a real smart way to fill that gap."

The ALA's report does give Minnesota high marks in some areas, including an "A" for air quality thanks to the statewide smoking ban in workplaces, bars, restaurants, and public buildings.

Furthermore, less Minnesotans are smoking than five years ago. For adults, the smoking rate has dropped to 14.9 percent in 2011 from 18.3 percent in 2007. 19.1 percent of high schoolers were smokers last year, compared to 22.4 percent a half-decade ago.

Though some believe the state has overstepped its bounds in imposing punitive cigarette taxes and banning smoking just about everywhere, Moffitt argued that the $3.2 billion smoking costs Minnesota in terms of health care expenses and lost productivity is a burden on everyone.

"When you figure out the medical costs, the insurance premiums -- we taxpayers end up paying for that," he said.

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Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Tobacco taxes contribute billions to things like education and healthcare in Minnesota. 

If we do away with smokers in Minnesota, where will all those funds come from?Do we just pull the rug out from under Minnesota's education funding and say; "tough, deal with it?"  While I agree that tobacco is extremely harmful, but we need to think about the other harm we may cause.

Watch as I show how Bob Moffitt lies- He says; "counteract the billions that tobacco companies pour into all types of advertising,.."

* It is ILLEGAL for cigarette advertisers to do the following: no advertisements on radio or TV programs or in any magazine publications which have an audience that is under the age of 21, no advertisements on Universities, Colleges or any other Schools in their programs for theatrical performances, sport events etc., comic books cannot have any cigarette ads in them due to the age of the reading audience which is usually under the age of 21, zero cigarette samples can be passed out and given to anyone who is not 21 years old.

Now you see how they lie or intentionally mislead the public?Their true purpose is to pad their own pockets.

MrE85
MrE85

There are plenty of publications (including City Pages) that accept tobacco advertising. Take a look at all the posters and ads at the average convenience store. There is still plenty of tobacco adverstising, but in different forms/places. Since 1998, the average youth in the United States is annually exposed to 559 tobacco ads, every adult female 617 advertisements and every African American adult 892 ads.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

If you are the same person as the "spokesperson" in the article above, then your statement of "counteract the billions that tobacco companies pour into all types of advertising,"  clearly is deceptive.  You said "all types", can you point towards any Network TV ad?  Does the Star and Tribune advertise Tobacco?  Pioneer Press?Billboards in Minnesota?"All" means all without exception.

Now you come forth and say; "Since 1998, the average youth in the United States is annually exposed to 559 tobacco ads."  That equates to 1.53 ads per day that the "average" youth is exposed to.  There is NO way that is correct.  Where is this youth exposure coming from?Are they reading Hustler and Playboy daily?I can't remember the last time I saw a tobacco ad other than in a store.You know being exposed to and recognizing something are two different things, and they  have vastly different effects.

Tobacco advertising in general and tobacco exposure through movies/TV might be 1/40 of what it was in the late 70's when I was a child.  Yet the percent of people that use tobacco might not have decreased by 1/2 at the most .   What's wrong?   Why are these anti smoking efforts such a big failure when it comes to the shear numbers over the past 30 years? And I see you chose to shy away from the fact your mission will be denying funding for children's healthcare and education with the elimination of a important tax base.   Am I Right? I mean, that is your ultimate goal, to completely eliminate tobacco use?  Or is it to torture smokers with ever crippling taxes?

I'm also letting people know, when it comes to statistics, a "tobacco ad" is a tobacco ad.  Their is no deciphering between a "pro" tobacco ad and a "anti" tobacco ad.  So when we see commercials stating, "Tobacco companies spent nearly $200 million in Minnesota in 2008", that INCLUDES the cost of "anti" tobacco ads which the tobacco companies also pay for.  Talk about deceptive advertising...

BTW, the no smoking in bars law is in the process of being undone.  The healthy results and healthcare savings that were promised are not there.  But the damage to some business is quite prevalent.  Also, by attacking smokers with taxes, you essentially are attacking the poor.  I believe people making under $50,000 a year make up like 80%+ of the smokers in the country.  Is that your message?  "Tax the poor till they quit smoking." 

But hey, in the end I bet this movement makes you feel important.  The act of hurting one to benefit another.  We all know it most certainly buys you things.  What will you do if everyone quits smoking today?  Hopefully your profession extends to something more than the very thing you wish to eliminate.

amiller92
amiller92

You really can't figure out that "all types" means "all of the types of advertising they do" and not "each and every possible type of advertising?"

What are you, slow?

Guy
Guy

I don't have a whole lot of background information, but it seems to me like the ALA has given MN an "F" in the category of "giving money to the ALA."

Smoker McGee
Smoker McGee

I'd like to see Bob Moffitt mind his on own goddamn business - where's the article on that? The lost productivity claim is absurd, regardless of the context it's used in.

David Foureyes
David Foureyes

Seems this could have been buried unless the headline had been: ALA: "Minnesota Not Smoking Enough."

pizza
pizza

Minnesota should do more to prevent the American Lung Association.

MrE85
MrE85

Where's the love, bro? You might need us some day.

pizza
pizza

If I do I'll ask ya, bro.

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