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Minnesota Smokers Turning to QUITPLAN(R) Services After Cigarette Tax Hike
Date:4/23/2009

Use of free quit-smoking services triples following 62-cent increase on cigarettes

MINNEAPOLIS, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent federal tax increase on cigarettes has a lot of Minnesotans trying to quit smoking. QUITPLAN Services, the free stop-smoking program provided by ClearWay Minnesota(SM), has seen user volumes spike following the increase. Congress increased the cigarette tax nationwide by 62 cents to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081223/AQTU043LOGO)

Since the new tax took effect on March 31, thousands of Minnesotans have contacted QUITPLAN Services for help. During the week of March 30 through April 5, 807 calls were made to QUITPLAN Services, an increase of 372 percent from the first week in March. In addition, 568 people registered on quitplan.com over the same time span, an increase of 207 percent from the first week in March. More people contacted QUITPLAN Services in the first week of April 2009 than did in the entire month of April 2008.

Studies in Minnesota and across the nation have found a direct relationship between cigarette price increases and quitting smoking. In 2005, a health impact fee increased the cost of a pack of cigarettes in Minnesota by 75 cents. At the time of the price increase, nearly 42 percent of Minnesota smokers thought about quitting, according to the 2007 Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey. In addition, more than one-fourth (26 percent) of current and former smokers (31 percent) report that they had made a quit attempt as a result of the fee increase. The more times a smoker attempts to quit, the more likely the chance of success.

"The research from Minnesota and other states clearly shows that price increases on tobacco products are effective at helping current smoker
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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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