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Smoking Rate Falls Dramatically Among Minnesotans
Date:9/9/2008

ercent) of Minnesota adults who smoked in the past 12 months attempted to quit in the past year. The percent of smokers who used counseling during their last quit attempt is up from 3.6 percent in 2003 to 14.9 percent in 2007. Getting help greatly increases a person's chances of being successful in quitting.

-- Higher tobacco prices and smoke-free policies help people quit -- Increasing the price of cigarettes and establishing more smoke-free places* was found to have supported quitting efforts. The 75-cent Health Impact Fee, which went into effect in 2005, helped current smokers to make a quit attempt (26.3 percent). Additionally, smoke-free policies also helped current smokers to make a quit attempt (28.1 percent).

"Quitting smoking is difficult, and we are very encouraged that in the past four years Minnesota has made great strides in reversing the alarming trend of high smoking rates among young adults," said Dr. Sanne Magnan, Commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Health. "An 8 percentage point drop is very encouraging, but 18-24-year-olds still have the highest smoking rate and that's where we must redouble our efforts."

While MATS 2007 documents Minnesota's continued progress in reducing tobacco use, significant challenges remain and should not be overlooked. In particular, 634,000 Minnesota adults continue to smoke and progress across the population has been uneven. Minnesotans with less education and lower incomes continue to smoke at higher rates, and young adults who do not attend college saw no reductions at all.

"Unlike the rest of the country, Minnesota's smoking rate is decreasing. That's a clear sign that we're doing the right things to reduce tobacco use," said Dr. Marc Manley, vice president and medical director for population health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "But tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease and is responsible for nearly $2 billion in excess medical costs
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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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