Cigarette Smoking, Secondhand Smoke Exposure Decline in Minnesota

State research published in CDC's weekly report

Feb 10, 2011, 12:00 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Findings from the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS), published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that Minnesota is continuing to make progress in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The study is the most thorough and accurate source of information about tobacco use in Minnesota.

Conducted by ClearWay Minnesota(SM) and the Minnesota Department of Health, the MATS study found that Minnesota's adult smoking rate has declined to 16.1 percent – down from 22.1 percent in 1999. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke significantly declined after the Freedom to Breathe Act was implemented in October 2007.

"These data allow us to get a complete picture of tobacco use and trends in Minnesota, and we are encouraged by the continuing declines in smoking and secondhand smoke exposure," said Dr. Raymond Boyle, Director of Research Programs for ClearWay Minnesota.  "However, the report identifies challenges as well and reminds us that we need to keep tobacco use a public health priority."

According to the MATS study, 625,000 Minnesotans continue to smoke. A Surgeon General's report in December 2010 revealed new scientific findings about how deadly cigarettes are and how quickly they can damage your body, highlighting the urgent need to assist these Minnesotans.

The MATS study also found a significant increase in the use of smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff and the new product snus. The percentage of smokers who reported using smokeless tobacco in addition to cigarettes more than doubled since 2007, from 4.4 percent to 9.6 percent.

"The MATS report confirms the changing nature of tobacco use in Minnesota," said Boyle. "We've seen a big jump in the tobacco industry's marketing of new smokeless products to counteract smoke-free policies and keep people addicted to tobacco."

Other key findings from MATS 2010 include:

  • Fewer Minnesotans are exposed to secondhand smoke. A new low of 45.6 percent of Minnesotans reported exposure to secondhand smoke in any location, down 11 percentage points from the 2007 MATS report.
  • More Minnesotans are protected by smoke-free policies and home rules. In addition to the comprehensive Freedom to Breathe Act that now ensures smoke-free workplaces, 87.2 percent of all Minnesotans have instituted voluntary smoke-free rules at their homes. This figure is up from 83.2 percent of Minnesotans with smoke-free rules at home in 2007.
  • The majority of smokers want to quit and more are getting help. More than half (54.6 percent) of Minnesota adults who smoked in the past 12 months attempted to quit in the past year. There was also a significant increase in the number of smokers who reported being asked if they smoke by a healthcare provider between 2007 and 2010. Currently, 80 percent of Minnesotans report being asked if they smoke, up from 69.4 percent in 2007.
  • Smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes per day. Adult smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes per day. The average number of cigarettes smoked per day dropped 5.2 percent from 2007 to 2010.

Released every three years, the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey provides comprehensive 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 surveys were conducted in 1999, 2003 and 2007.  

"Minnesota has made great strides in reducing tobacco use through important health policies like the Freedom to Breathe Act, but we can't become complacent," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. "While we should celebrate our successes, we need to recognize that our rate of improvement in tobacco use has slowed." 

Dr. Ehlinger also noted that tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Minnesota. "Tobacco use results in nearly $3 billion in medical costs in our state every year. We need to stay vigilant in our efforts to reduce the impact of tobacco and improve the health of all Minnesotans." 

Full report and fact sheet are available at

ClearWay Minnesota(SM) is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, through QUITPLAN® Services and through statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.

The Minnesota Department of Health is the lead public health agency in Minnesota. Its mission is to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans. The department operates programs in the areas of disease prevention and control, health promotion, family and community health, environmental health, health care policy, emergency planning and preparedness and regulation of health care providers and facilities. The department works with local public health departments across the state to accomplish its mission.

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota