Most Minnesota Smokers Want, Need Help to Quit; Survey Finds Nearly Half Could Not Quit When They Tried
ST. PAUL, Minn., July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost half (46%) of Minnesota's estimated 700,000 smokers try, but fail, to quit, according to a report released today by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), the Minnesota Partnership for Action
The report summarized survey data on Minnesota smokers' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors concerning quitting smoking, in order to support policy development and program planning for the public health, medical and health plan community.
``Our goal was to help current smokers quit and prevent more people from starting,'' said Marc Manley, M.D., executive director of the Blue Cross Center for Tobacco Reduction and Health Improvement. ``This survey shows us smokers really do want to quit and need help to do so.''
The survey also revealed some good news: expanding use of and interest in getting help to quit smoking. A growing array of products and services, such as nicotine patches and gum, stop-smoking medications, telephone counseling and other forms of support, is now available. And more than half (60%) of all Minnesota smokers say they would use them -- an important finding because, with solid assistance, the success of attempts to quit increases ten-fold, to more than 20 percent, according to a number of studies.
Each year, only 2.5 percent of all smokers quit for good. More than three-fourths of the Minnesota smokers surveyed (76%) had made multiple attempts or had even reduced their smoking (63%) but still had been unable to quit. Not surprisingly, those who smoke the most have the least confidence in their ability to quit. Only 22 percent of heavy smokers (25+ cigarettes per day) strongly believe they can quit for good, compared to 53 percent of light smokers (fewer than 15 cigarettes per day).
Among Minnesota teens who smoke, the survey found quitting to be especially difficult. Although nearly two-thirds want to quit, as many had tried but failed. Only 55 percent of frequent teen smokers who have tried to quit really believe they can. The vast majority of adult smokers begin smoking as teenagers.
In Minnesota and the United States, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease. One third of all smokers die prematurely because of their addiction. Smoking causes approximately 17 percent of all Minnesota deaths each year.
There is help for Minnesotans who want to quit. Last month, MPAAT launched Minnesota's Tobacco Helpline, a free telephone referral and counseling service to help smokers quit. The BluePrint for HealthÂ® stop smoking program is available to all Blue Cross members statewide. Most Minnesota health plans offer coverage for stop-smoking aids, nicotine replacement therapy and physician visits to get help quitting.
For more information:
Minnesota's Tobacco Helpline: 1-877-270-STOP
BluePrint for HealthÂ® Stop Smoking Program: 1-800-835-0704
For a copy of the report:
Blue Cross/Monika Strom Phone: 651-662-6889
MPAAT/Julie Jensen Phone: 651-312-3922
MDH/Michael Maguire Phone: 651-284-3831
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A not-for-profit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.