QUITPLAN sees demand spike after Minn. tobacco tax hike - KMSP-TV

QUITPLAN sees demand spike after Minn. tobacco tax hike

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Flickr/Creative Commons/Denis Defreyne Flickr/Creative Commons/Denis Defreyne

The recent increase on cigarette taxes in Minnesota has many smokers turning to cessation services. In fact, QUITPLAN Services has seen four times as many people seeking help since July 1.

The free stop-smoking program is provided by ClearWay Minnesota, and representatives say the additional $1.60 tax is pushing some smokers to stop because they can't or won't shell out $7.50 per pack.

During the first two weeks of July, QUITPLAN Services received 900 calls through the QUITPLAN Helpline, an increase of 256 percent compared to last year. In addition, the website had 5,650 web visits over the same time span, an increase of 289 percent from 2012.

"Research from Minnesota and other states clearly shows that tobacco price increases are effective at helping smokers quit," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "We're happy that so many Minnesotans are accessing the free, professional help from QUITPLAN Services to quit smoking, save money and improve their health."

New research released in the November 2012 supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the price of tobacco is the largest contributing factor to reducing smoking prevalence in Minnesota. That factor alone was responsible for 43 percent of all smoking declines in the state since 1993. Smoke-free air laws, media campaigns, strong youth access laws and cessation treatment also contributed.

FOX 9 News spoke with Mike Sheldon, communications manager for ClearWay Minnesota, about the trend.

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