Minnesota Stop-Smoking Efforts Leave Room for Improvement
ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota is slightly more successful than the rest of the nation at reducing smoking among adults, based on a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report and a Minnesota survey of adult resident
The CDC's October 12, 2001, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that nationwide, the number of adult smokers in the United States has decreased to 23.5 percent, or 46.5 million adults, in 1999 from 25 percent in 1993. Minnesota's adult smoking rate was about 20 percent, according to a report released in July by MPAAT, the Minnesota Department of Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.
The CDC report, ``Cigarette Smoking Among Adults -- United States, 1999,'' also notes that if states invested resources consistent with the CDC guidelines and used proven interventions, such as smoking bans and restrictions and increasing cigarette excise taxes, the smoking rate could be further reduced. Minnesota spends $4.71 per capita on tobacco use prevention and cessation, which is below the $6.11 per capita minimum recommended by the CDC.
In Minnesota and the United States, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease, and smoking causes approximately 17 percent of all Minnesota deaths each year. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, tobacco addiction and disease kill 6,400 Minnesotans each year at a cost of $1.3 billion annually.
The Minnesota report, ``Quitting Smoking: Nicotine Addiction in Minnesota,'' was based on a 1999 survey of Minnesotans' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors concerning tobacco use.
The survey also revealed that almost half (46 percent) of Minnesota's smokers try, but fail, to quit and about 936,000 adult Minnesotans are former smokers. In the CDC study, an estimated 45.7 million adults were former smokers in 1999, including 25.8 million men and 19.9 million women. An estimated 15.7 million adult smokers had stopped smoking for at least one day during the preceding 12 months because they were trying to quit.
Many smokers in Minnesota are interested in quitting and are, according to the Minnesota survey, increasingly using products and services, such as nicotine patches and gum, stop-smoking medications, telephone counseling and other forms of support, to stop. Most Minnesota health plans offer help with quitting.
Minnesota's Tobacco Helpline, a free telephone referral and counseling service to help smokers quit, is available to anyone in Minnesota. Minnesota's Tobacco Helpline -- 1-877-270-STOP -- is a collaborative effort by MPAAT and seven of the state's health plans. Callers are immediately transferred to their health plan if it provides tobacco cessation counseling or they are counseled by Group Health Cooperative as part of the MPAAT contract.
MPAAT is an independent nonprofit foundation that was created in 1998 as part of Minnesota's $6.1 billion settlement with the tobacco industry. As a result of the settlement, the state is receiving $1.25 billion in one-time payments through Fiscal Year 2003. The additional $4.85 billion is a projection. Actual revenues may very significantly based on future tobacco use rates and industry profitability.
From the one-time payments, the Ramsey County District Court set aside $202 million for MPAAT, and the Minnesota Legislature invested $590 million in the Tobacco Use Prevention and Local Public Health Endowment, managed by the Minnesota Department of Health. These efforts use 12.5 percent of the tobacco settlement revenue. A partner in the state's tobacco lawsuit, Blue Cross and Blue Shield has not yet received approval from the state's Commerce Department to spend its settlement funds.
The CDC report will be available October 12 online at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco . The Minnesota report, ``Quitting Smoking,'' is available online at http://www.mpaat.org , under For Your Information/Reports.