ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of Raise it for Health, a coalition of Minnesota's leading health and nonprofit organizations, responded to the 2014 Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) released earlier today. The research shows that 14.4 percent of adult Minnesotans now smoke – a sharp decline from 16.1 percent in 2010 – and that a 2013 tax increase influenced smoking behaviors, helped smokers quit and kept more young people from starting.
"Raising the price of tobacco was a win for the health of all Minnesotans," said Janelle Waldock, Director of the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and co-chair of the Raise it for Health coalition. "Thank you, legislators and Governor Dayton, for helping Minnesota reach its lowest smoking rate in recorded history."
MATS is the most comprehensive source of data on adult tobacco use and attitudes in Minnesota. It is conducted by ClearWay Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the 2014 survey is the fifth of its kind since 1999.
The MATS findings provide evidence that increasing the price of tobacco supports smokers in quitting. Smokers reported that the 2013 $1.60 per-pack tax increase on cigarettes influenced their smoking, with:
- 60.8 percent of them thinking about quitting;
- 48.1 percent of them cutting down on smoking; and
- 44.2 percent of them making quit attempts.
In addition, among smokers who quit in the past year, majorities said that the price increase helped them to make quit attempts (62.8 percent) and to stay smoke-free (62.7 percent).
The new research comes in the wake of the recent Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey, released by MDH this fall. It showed similar trends, with 10.6 percent of high school students smoking cigarettes, down from 18.1 percent in 2011.
"We know that raising the price of tobacco helps smokers quit, but it also prevents kids from starting," said Matt Schafer, Director of Government Relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "Big Tobacco still spends more than $164 million marketing their deadly products in Minnesota each year. Our coalition is committed to working with elected officials to uphold and advance strong policies to save Minnesota kids from a lifetime of addiction to tobacco."
Raise it for Health is a coalition of Minnesota's leading health and nonprofit organizations who share a common goal of reducing tobacco use in the state. Raise it for Health partners include: AARP Minnesota, Allina Health, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Association for Nonsmokers – MN, Association of Minnesota Counties, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CentraCare Health System, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, ClearWay MinnesotaSM, Courage Center, Four Corners Partnership, HealthEast Care System, HealthPartners, LAAMPP Institute, Local Public Health Association, Mayo Clinic, Medica, Metro-MN Oncology Nursing Society, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Cancer Alliance, Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Public Health Association, Park Nicollet Health Services, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, School Nurse Organization of Minnesota, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota, Southwest Community Health Improvement Program, and Twin Cities Medical Society.
SOURCE Raise it for Health Coalition