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Tobacco puts bottom line ahead of people's health

As a member of B-WELL, a community-based organization that has worked for years to reduce tobacco use in our area, I feel compelled to respond to Thomas Briant's opinion piece ("Tobacco tax increases are outrageous").

Not surprisingly, any mention of health is glaringly absent from his arguments against increasing tobacco taxes. He fails to mention that the tobacco products his members profit from kill 5,500 Minnesotans each year and cost $2 billion in health care costs that we all subsidize through our taxes and insurance premiums. Nor does he mention that it is kids who are the targets of some of the products he complains are so heavily taxed like cherry-flavored snuff. Rather, he focuses on money.

While disappointing, this is not shocking given that the tobacco industry has always put the bottom line before people's health.

Warren Larson


Beltrami Wellness Education for a Long Life