Jun. 27 2002
Washington, DC — Today's decision by Ramsey County District Judge Michael Fetsch affirms the importance of maintaining the fundamental independence and mission of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco (MPAAT).
We welcome Judge Fetsch's ruling as a confirmation of the important role MPAAT plays in the comprehensive approach to reduce smoking in Minnesota and, in particular, of the effectiveness of clean indoor air policies as an aid to smoking cessation. The judge's ruling was rightly based on sound science showing that clean indoor air policies help smokers quit. Surveys show that 70% of smokers in American want to quit.
MPAAT plays a vital role in the comprehensive approach to reduce smoking in Minnesota. While both MPAAT and the state health department's smoking prevention program have been highly successful in the few years of their existence, 32% of high school students in the state smoke and tobacco costs the state more than $1.6 billion annually in health care costs alone.
Judge Fetsch's decision puts an end to months of debate over MPAAT's mission and organizational structure and allows MPAAT to focus on reducing tobacco's terrible toll on the state of Minnesota.