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There is no way to sugar coat that smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death. Here in Minnesota, Big Tobacco is using flavored products, often sweet ones, to addict a new generation of kids.

Flavors are a marketing weapon the tobacco manufacturers use to target youth and young people to a lifetime of addiction. In Minnesota, Big Tobacco has spent millions of dollars to promote these products and has created our youth tobacco crisis.

This is important to me because we need to act decisively now to protect the youth in Minnesota from these preventable deaths. To quote Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former World Health Organization director-general, “If we do not act decisively today, 100 years from now our grandchildren and their children will look back and seriously question how people claiming to be so committed to public health and justice allowed the tobacco epidemic to unfold unchecked.”

I am not alone in my concerns about this health issue; 74% of Minnesotans support prohibiting the sales of all flavored tobacco products (including menthol cigarettes), the 2020 Statewide Tobacco Survey says.

Support to stop this crisis is growing and I hope I can count on the support of my legislator, state Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, to end the sale of these deadly products.

Barb Witz

Eden Prairie