The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

Minnesota’s progress towards tobacco prevention: is it working?


The air we breathe in is essential to our health, and the state of Minnesota has done a significant job of acknowledging this fact. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), smoking rates are at an all-time low. This is great, however, tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death in the nation.

MDH acknowledges that there’s more work to do in terms of the nicotine epidemic amongst young people. The highly addictive drug is a moneymaker for the tobacco industry and young people are at the epicenter.

In my latest piece written for The Oracle, I highlighted the rates at which young generations are gaining access to commercial tobacco products. The addictive flavors are so prevalent in big corporations that a majority of young users admit they wouldn’t smoke if the products were flavorless. It’s a marketing gimmick to keep young people entranced by something so harmful to their bodies.

So, what has Minnesota done to keep smoking rates so low? And why is the state still struggling to prevent young people from accessing commercial tobacco?

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According to the 22nd annual American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report, Minnesota has cessation programs in place to prevent tobacco use. Some of these include Minnesota’s Free Quit programs; My Life, My Quit for Teens, and The American Indian Quitline.

These programs are great and highly essential to keeping community air clean and smoke-free. They have also promoted inclusive materials to support anyone struggling with addictive behaviors when it comes to tobacco use.

However, according to the Center for Disease Control, Minnesota is only meeting their on preventing commercial tobacco by about 24%. The non-profit Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids also states that Minnesota is collecting $97.3 million from tobacco sales.

What the state must do is raise a call to action in order to have the next generation tobacco-free. Requests made by the American Lung Association include; calling for the elimination of the sale of all flavored commercial tobacco products, raising taxes on all commercial tobacco products, and closing loopholes in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act.

You can also urge President Biden to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars here.

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