St. Paul, MN (June 7, 2016) – Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of Minnesota’s leading health organizations, voiced their appreciation to Governor Mark Dayton today, for vetoing the tax bill that contained more than $32 million in tax breaks for the tobacco industry.
“We thank Governor Dayton for his longstanding commitment to promoting health and reducing tobacco’s harm,” said Molly Moilanen, Director of Public Affairs for ClearWay Minnesota and Co-Chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. “Big Tobacco targets Minnesota kids with their products. They don’t deserve millions in tax breaks.”
Specifically, the bill would have:
Eliminated the annual cigarette tax increase, which is important to keep pace with inflation and deter youth from smoking in the future; and
Significantly lowered the tax rate on e-cigarettes sold by Big Tobacco, such as VUSE and Mark Ten.
“Since 2013, Minnesota youth and adult smoking rates have fallen to all-time lows. Why would anyone want to walk back this progress by rewarding Big Tobacco?” said Moilanen. “We hope lawmakers will take these tax breaks for Big Tobacco off the table as they consider future tax legislation. Minnesotans want the Legislature to take bold steps in future sessions to prevent youth smoking and create our first smoke-free generation.”
About Minnesotans for a Smoke-free Generation
Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation is a coalition of Minnesota's leading health and other interested organizations that share a common goal of saving Minnesota youth from a lifetime of addiction to tobacco. Each year in Minnesota, tobacco use is responsible for more than 5,100 deaths and almost $3 billion in preventable health care costs — and 90 percent of adult smokers started before the age of 18. Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation supports policies that reduce youth smoking and help end the death and disease associated with tobacco use, including keeping tobacco prices high, raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21, limiting access to candy and fruit flavored tobacco and funding future tobacco control programs.
Partners include: A Healthier Southwest, African American Leadership Forum, Allina Health, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Apple Tree Dental, Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CentraCare Health, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, ClearWay MinnesotaSM, Essentia Health, Four Corners Partnership, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, HealthEast, HealthPartners, Hennepin County Medical Center, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, LAAMPP Institute, Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, Local Public Health Association of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, Medica, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers, Minnesota Cancer Alliance, Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Oral Health Coalition, Minnesota Public Health Association, Model Cities of St. Paul, Inc., North Memorial Health Care, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Rainbow Health Initiative, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, Tobacco Free Alliance and Twin Cities Medical Society. Find out more at: smokefreegenmn.org.