The verdict is in - Minnesotans love fresh air!

On October 1, 2007, Minnesota became a healthier state when your favorite bars, restaurants and bowling alleys went 100% smoke-free. So get out and enjoy the fresh air!

Minnesotans overwhelmingly support the Freedom to Breathe Act

A new survey released by ClearWay MinnesotaSM found that 76% of Minnesotans support the statewide smoke-free law, with 44% indicating strong support. The survey also provides evidence of strong support among all leading demographics, including geography, political and ideological affiliation, income, age and gender. The survey was conducted by Minneapolis research firm Decision Resources, Ltd.

More information about the survey is available here.

Minneostans are smoking less and thinking about quitting more as a result of the law

In addition to protecting Minnesota workers and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke, the Freedom to Breathe Act is also encouraging smokers to cut down or consider quitting.

Since the smoke-free law went into effect on October 1, 2007, ClearWay Minnesota's quit-smoking programs, QUITPLAN® Services, have seen a dramatic increase in demand for stop-smoking help. During the first week of October 2007, the online cessation program saw a 93% increase in registrants compared to the same week in 2006, and several QUITPLAN Centers saw increases in participants throughout the month of October.

Also in the first month of the law's implementation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota reported that more of its members sought help to quit smoking. Quitline enrollments grew from 368 in September 2007 to 525 in October 2007 - nearly a 43% increase. Blue Cross also saw claims for over-the-counter quit-smoking medications nearly triple compared to the same period from the previous year - 10,024 claims in October 2007 compared to 3,354 claims in October 2006. 

Furthermore, the January 2008 statewide survey referenced above found that 19% of Minnesota smokers report smoking fewer cigarettes and 22% report they are seriously considering quitting as a direct result of the law.

More information on the survey is available here.

Health officials say Freedom to Breathe going smoothly

The Minnesota Department of Health, the state agency that enforces the Freedom to Breathe Act, has reported minimal problems since the law took effect in October 2007.

More information about the law's implementation is available here.

Here are some of the other benefits of smoke-free policies:

Smoke-free policies significantly improve public health in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, at least 581 lives are lost to secondhand smoke each year.1

Each year in Minnesota, 66,000 people are treated for illnesses and disease caused as a result of exposure to the toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke. 1

The Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007 significantly reduces the amount of deadly poisons Minnesotans are exposed to in public places. These include arsenic, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead and benzene. 2, 3

All workers are now protected from secondhand smoke in the workplace, including restaurant and bar workers.
Bar and restaurant workers in Minnesota have been among the most exposed and least protected from secondhand smoke - which is known to cause cancer and contains 250 toxic chemicals. 2, 3

Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work in places like bars, restaurants, pool halls and bowling alleys have an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease. 4

Current heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems alone cannot control exposure to secondhand smoke in nonsmoking areas. 4

Reduction in secondhand smoke helps control healthcare costs.
According to a 2007 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, $215.7 million is spent each year in Minnesota to treat health conditions caused by secondhand smoke. 1