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Minneapolis Study Points to Sharp Drop in Smoking Rates
Date:11/14/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul saw a sharp decline in the number of adult smokers over the last three decades, perhaps mirroring trends elsewhere in the United States, experts say.

The decline was due not only to more quitters, but fewer people choosing to smoke in the first place, according to research presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), in Chicago.

"The magnitude of the decrease was a little larger than expected but the bigger surprise was that, among those people who continued to smoke, they decreased their cigarette consumption," said study lead author Kristian Filion, a postdoctoral associate in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.

The likely reasons for the downturn? Filion believes it's attributable to legislation and to specific programs funded by tobacco-settlement funds, plus the sheer cost of cigarettes today.

One expert said the findings reflected trends he's noticed in New York City.

"I don't see that many people who smoke these days. Over the last couple of decades the tremendous emphasis on the dangers of smoking has gradually permeated our society and while there are certainly people who continue to smoke and have been smoking for years and begin now, for a variety of reasons I think that smoking is decreasing," said Dr. Jeffrey S. Borer, chairman of the department of medicine and of cardiovascular medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. "If the Minnesota data is showing a decline, that's probably a microcosm of what's happening elsewhere."

The findings come after U.S. regulators on Thursday unveiled proposals to add graphic images and more strident anti-smoking messages on cigarette packages to try to shock people into staying a
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