ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A new survey shows that the smoking rate among Minnesota’s 18-24 population has plunged since 2010.
The Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey, released Thursday by ClearWay Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, shows an overall drop in adult smoking. Only 14.4 percent of participants said they smoke, down from 16.1 percent in 2010.
Smoking among adults between 18 and 24 plummeted from 21.8 percent in 2010 to 15.3 percent in 2014, marking the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that younger adults weren’t the most likely to smoke. According to the survey, that distinction now belongs to adults aged 25 to 44 at 19 percent.
The Star Tribune reports officials attributed the decline in part to public-health resources made available after Minnesota’s legal settlement with the tobacco industry in 1998. Raymond Boyle, research director for ClearWay Minnesota, said young adults are influenced by seeing “smokers stuck outside” and parents or peers quitting or never smoking.
“There’s still 580,000 people — adults — smoking in Minnesota and that’s really still too many people,” Boyle told Minnesota Public Radio News. “We need smokers to move towards thinking about quitting.”
A majority of Minnesota smokers tried to quit in the last year, according to the survey. Forty-four percent of smokers tried to quit in response to a 2013 state tax increase of $1.60 per pack of cigarettes.
Among smokers who succeeded in quitting, 45 percent reported using e-cigarettes in the process. The share of people who said they used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days rose to 5.9 percent in 2014 from 0.7 percent in 2010.
The survey is released about every four years. More than 9,000 people participated.
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