Tobacco Marketing Costs Exceed Those of Prevention Efforts - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Tobacco Marketing Costs Exceed Those of Prevention Efforts

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There's been a statewide effort over the past several years to cut down on tobacco use in North Dakota. And state lawmakers now know exactly how much those prevention programs are costing.

It's not easy for smokers in North Dakota to find a place to light up, and state lawmakers now know just how much it costs to keep it that way.

The Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy says it spends about fifty-five dollars on each North Dakota Tobacco user. That money goes towards programs that help users break the habit.

"A great portion of the program is focused on preventing young people, youth and young adults, from ever using tobacco so we don't have to spend as much on cessation, or getting them to quit later in life," says Prom

And Prom says youth smoking rates have gone down in the last year. Even though the tobacco industry spends about one-hundred and ninety five dollars a year marketing to North Dakotans.

"It's odd that we have a situation today where we have an industry, the tobacco industry, who promote a product that when used as intended kills. There's really nothing normal about that. So we want to change that to where not using tobacco is the norm," says Jeanne Prom, North Dakota Tobacco Prevention.

Prom presented these numbers on the same day that New York City proposed a law that would change the tobacco buying age from eighteen to twenty-one. But North Dakotans don't thing that will happen here.

"North Dakota, at this time, we need to focus on our taxes and raising that, and that is going to make the biggest impact for stopping our youth from starting and helping others to quit," says Kim Schneider, American Lung Association.

That's because the tobacco tax here is only forty-four cents, one of the lowest in the country.

"We've spent a lot of time in the past year just educating again on the smoke-free law and on the tobacco tax. It's a big issue in North Dakota," says Schneider.

Tobacco prevention groups in the state say raising the tax is the next step towards fighting tobacco use.

For more information on how much smoking costs North Dakotans, visit breathend.com.

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