Minnesota ranks 11th best among all states for adult smoking, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in a previous ranking in 2009, Minnesota was 7th.
"This report shows that far too many Minnesotans are still using tobacco products, 11th isn't good enough for Minnesota," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Edward Ehlinger. "The cost of tobacco in terms of lives and about $2.87 billion in annual medical costs is too high. We must reduce this toll on our families and our state and one of the most effective ways to curb youth smoking is to raise the price." Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a 94-cent tax increase, which would bring the total tax and fees to $2.17 a pack.
Tobacco use is among the top causes of preventable death and disease. Cigarette smoking caused premature death in one in every seven deaths in Minnesota in 2007, or 5,135 people. Secondhand smoke brings $215.7 million in excess medical costs in Minnesota, and secondhand smoke leads to disease in 66,000 people.
Key points from the CDC report:
• 19 percent of Minnesota adults smoke.
• In 2008-2009, of all Minnesota youth ages 12-17 who had never smoked, 5.4 percent smoked a cigarette for the first time in the past year. This ranked 13th in the nation.
• In 2009-2010, 79.3 percent of adults in Minnesota thought that smoking should never be allowed in indoor workplaces.
• Smoking disproportionately is affecting American Indians and African-Americans, young adults 18-24, and those with less education.
• Nationwide, 20 percent of adults and 18.1 percent of high school students smoke, and smoking declines have slowed in recent years.
• In the U.S. each year, 443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and 8.6 million have a serious smoking-related illness.