Letter to the Editor

Crabtree: Tobacco cessation services need to continue

To the Editor:

My name is Dr. Joshua Crabtree and I live and work in Luverne.  I have been a family physician for Sanford Clinic in Luverne since August of 2002.

I am hopeful that our Rock County lawmakers will support HF 3291/SF 3006, a common-sense bill that would dedicate ongoing funding to tobacco cessation services here in Minnesota. The following stats are reasons why this is so important:

•Over 6,300 Minnesotans die each year from tobacco use.

•580,000 Minnesota adults still smoke and need help quitting.

•Smokers’ health care costs average 34 percent higher than nonsmokers’.

•In Minnesota the annual cost of smoking is estimated at over $7 billion:

more than $3 billion in excess health care costs and $4 billion in lost productivity.

Minnesota physicians and medical providers need a trustworthy, statewide resource to refer patients who are trying to quit smoking and tobacco use. At our clinic we regularly refer patients who want to quit tobacco to QUITPLAN Services, Minnesota's statewide cessation service, which offers free help to any tobacco user in Minnesota. It has been proven that smoking cessation efforts have been and will continue to be successful.

•Cessation counseling combined with medications can more than triple the chances of a smoker successfully quitting.

•QUITPLAN® Services has helped more than 170,000 Minnesota smokers.

•For every dollar Minnesota invests in counseling and nicotine medications, $1.29 would be saved annually.

Statewide cessation services are essential to help smokers kick the habit and embrace healthier lives. The evidence is clear that having the right cessation medication, quitting tools and support makes it much more likely people will succeed in quitting. These services will no longer be available to all Minnesotans by 2020 unless legislators act now. A prudent taxpayer

question might be “Why have we not spent more on this life-saving and money-saving effort, especially when the money should be there for the state to use?”

The state of Minnesota collected more than $840 million in tobacco taxes and

settlement fees last year;  yet less than 1 percent of that was spent on tobacco prevention and cessation.

Please consider this information when deciding on HF 3291/SF 3006.  There are too many Minnesotans that need this help to not move forward and support this bill.

Joshua Crabtree, MD

Sanford Health



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