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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Minnesota. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Minnesota's elected officials:

  1. End the sale of all flavored tobacco products;
  2. Remove barriers to and expand reimbursement for tobacco cessation treatment; and
  3. Protect and increase state investments in tobacco prevention and treatment.

During the 2021 legislative session, the American Lung Association – as part of the Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation statewide coalition of more than 60 organizations – focused on: securing long-term funding for tobacco prevention and treatment and ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

In light of ClearWay Minnesota's sunset at the end of 2021, securing additional state funding for tobacco prevention and treatment was the coalition's top priority during the 2021 legislative session. For more than two decades ClearWay Minnesota, the foundation created with 3 percent of the state's settlement with tobacco companies in 1998, has provided the majority of funding for tobacco prevention in Minnesota. Ultimately, the Legislature approved an additional $4 million a year for tobacco prevention. The new appropriation from the state's general fund will boost underfunded commercial tobacco prevention programs at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH's Commercial Tobacco Prevention and Control Planning and Grants Unit already oversees $3.2 million for tobacco prevention and $2.87 million for the statewide cessation services, Quit Partner. In total, MDH will be responsible for $10 million each year in state funding to address commercial tobacco use in Minnesota. These lifesaving investments represent just a small fraction of the state's tobacco revenue totals.

Efforts to end the sale of menthol and all flavored tobacco products continued with bills introduced by Black legislators in the House and Senate. They were joined by other bipartisan legislators, along with youth, physicians and public health experts, in supporting the policy. The Minnesota House advanced the bill through the Preventive Health Policy Division. As of June 2021, 22 Minnesota communities have restricted the sale of flavored tobacco products in some form, covering more than one in five Minnesotans. Ten of those cities have completely ended flavored tobacco sales.

A 2020 statewide poll found that 74 percent of Minnesotans support prohibiting the sales of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. Support for this policy was high across demographics and regions, including among African Americans (77 percent support) and rural residents (81 percent support).

The 2020 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey showed one in five Minnesota high school students reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, and 70 percent of youth e-cigarette users reported one or more signs of dependence. These data reinforce the need for bold policies to protect youth.

Working together as part of the Minnesotans for a Smoke Free Generation, in 2022 the American Lung Association will continue to pursue legislation ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products – especially menthol, increaseing the tax on tobacco products and expanding insurance coverage and reimbursement opportunities for cessation treatment services.
Minnesota Facts
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $2,519,011,064
Adult Smoking Rate: 13.8%
High School Smoking Rate: 5.3%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 28.0%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 2.4%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 5,910

Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school (11th grade only) smoking and tobacco use, and middle school (8th grade only) smoking rates are taken from the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey. High school tobacco use results are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

Minnesota Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

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