Minn. Gets Failing Grade for Efforts to Fight Smoking

Updated: 01/17/2013 6:59 AM KSTP.com By: Tim Sherno

The American Lung Association has come out with its annual "State Of Tobacco" report card, and Minnesota has been given an overall failing grade.

Bob Moffitt is with the American Lung Association in Minnesota, he says the report card isn't all bad news, "We do get an "A" for smoke free air, that's the comprehensive smoking ban that was passed about 5 years ago."

But Minnesota gets a "C" for the level of cigarette tax, and an "F" for programs to help prevent new smokers from lighting up and an "F" for programs to help existing smokers quit. According to Moffitt, the State is losing some ground, "Minnesota's grades, unfortunately, were not that good this year."

The American Lung Association in Minnesota says it would like to see the cigarette tax increased, nearly double, from $1.60 to $3.10. Moffitt says a tax hike will have the most immediate impact, "when the cigarette tax is increased... there's a marked drop in people who smoke."

Smoker Rebecca Neider says the increase tax could be the push she needs to stop smoking, "Raising taxes would give me more incentive to quit because obviously I'd have to pay more for a pack of cigarettes."

View Minnesota's grade summary page and download the complete report here.