164,000 fewer Minnesotans are smoking
MINNEAPOLIS, September 10, 2008 – Findings from the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS), released today, show that Minnesota is making significant progress in reducing tobacco use.
The survey 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.
The study was a joint project of ClearWay Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health.
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:
- Fewer young adults are smoking.
Smoking rates for young adults (18 to 24-year-olds) declined 8 percentage points, from 36.8 percent in 2003 to 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). 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 Sanne Magnan, M.D., commissioner of health and an MMA member. “An 8 percentage point drop is very encouraging, but 18 to 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.
Full report and briefing sheets