Findings from the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS), released today, show that Minnesota is making significant progress in reducing tobacco use. The survey, conducted by ClearWay Minnesota(SM), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health — found that Minnesota’s adult smoking rate has declined to a new low of 17 percent. That figure is down approximately 5 percentage points since 1999 and represents 164,000
fewer smokers. Minnesota’s declines are impressive compared to national trends, where smoking rates appear to have stalled at about 20 percent since 2004.
“This dramatic decline in the smoking rate means that fewer Minnesota families will suffer the health and economic devastation of tobacco-related diseases,” said Dr. Barbara Schillo, director of Research Programs for ClearWay Minnesota. “Minnesotans should be proud that our state’s comprehensive program to reduce tobacco use, incorporating smoke-free policies, tobacco price increases, education and state-of-the-art cessation services for all Minnesotans, is working and producing remarkable results.”
Released every four years, the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey is the
most thorough and accurate source of information about smoking rates and tobacco-related behaviors, attitudes and beliefs in the adult Minnesota population, and serves as a tool for measuring the progress of Minnesota’s tobacco prevention efforts. Previous MATS were conducted in 1999 and 2003.
Other Key Findings from MATS 2007 include:
Fewer young adults are smoking — Smoking rates for young adults
(18-24-year-olds) declined 8 percentage points, from 36.8 percent in 2003to 28.4 percent in 2007, which means that there are 42,000 fewer young adult smokers than in 2003.
The majority of smokers want to quit and more are getting help —
More than half (56.7 percent) 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.
Source: ClearWay Minnesota
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