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As First Anniversary Approaches, Poll Finds Statewide Smoke-Free Law as Popular as Leading Minnesota Icons

Thursday, September 25, 2008 General News J E 4
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MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 25 A new survey released today byClearWay Minnesota(SM) found that as the October 1 anniversary of thestatewide smoke-free law approaches, its popularity ranks high among some ofMinnesota's leading icons. The survey found that an overwhelming 77 percent ofMinnesotans support the statewide smoke-free law, with 41 percent indicatingstrong support. That compares to the popularity rating of walleye dinners (89percent), Minnesota State Fair (86 percent), Minnesota Twins (83 percent),Minnesota Vikings (77 percent), Mall of America (69 percent) and State FairPronto Pups (69 percent). The survey also provides evidence of strong supportfor the statewide smoke-free law among all leading demographics, includinggeography, political and ideological affiliation, income, age and gender. Thesurvey was conducted by Minneapolis research firm Decision Resources, Ltd.

"One year after the smoke-free law went into effect, Minnesotans arehappier than ever about it," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer ofClearWay Minnesota. "Not only is the law as popular with the public as theMinnesota Vikings, it's more popular than State Fair Pronto Pups - and muchbetter for your heart, too."

Other key findings from the survey include:

-- A decisive majority of Minnesotans -- 85 percent -- view secondhandsmoke as a health hazard.

-- By an overwhelming margin -- 86 to 11 percent -- Minnesotans believethat restaurants and bars are healthier for customers and employees now thatthey are smoke-free.

-- Strong majorities in every part of the state support the smoke-free law(75 percent in the Twin Cities; 81 percent in the west metro; 80 percent inthe east metro; 73 percent in northern Minnesota; and 79 percent in southernMinnesota).

In March, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center released a studyconfirming the immediate and positive health impacts of the statewide smoke-free law on bar and restaurant workers. The study found the workers hadsignificantly reduced exposure to a tobacco-specific cancer-causing chemicalfound in secondhand smoke after the law's implementation.

"The Freedom to Breathe Act has been an unqualified success in its firstyear," said Willoughby. "Not only is it overwhelmingly popular withMinnesotans, but it has also improved the health of bar and restaurantworkers."

Methodology

The September 2008 study contains the results of a survey administered to800 randomly selected 2006 voters across the state of Minnesota. Professionalinterviewers conducted the survey by telephone between September 2-12. Thetypical respondent took 12 minutes to complete the questionnaire. The non-response rate was 3.5%. The results of the study are projectable to all adultMinnesota residents within ą 3.5 % in 95 out of 100 cases.

To view complete survey results, visit http://www.clearwaymn.org.

ClearWay Minnesota(SM) is an independent, nonprofit organization thatimproves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco.ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, throughQUITPLAN(R) Services and through statewide outreach activities. It is fundedwith 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.

For more information on QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visithttp://www.clearwaymn.org.

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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