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Minnesota's Comprehensive Statewide Smokefree Law

Short-Term Effects on Young Adults

      Background

      Young adults have the highest rate of smoking among any age group.

      Purpose

      The purpose of this study is to assess the short-term effects of Minnesota's comprehensive statewide smokefree law on young adult smoking perceptions and behavior.

      Methods

      Telephone surveys were conducted before and up to 18 months after Minnesota's statewide smokefree law went into effect on October 1, 2007 (data analyzed 2010–2011). Participants included young adults from a population-based cohort in Minnesota (n=1458) and from five other upper Midwest states that serve as a comparison (n=248). Differences in perceptions and smoking behavior were examined between Minnesota participants who lived with and without a local smokefree law prior to Minnesota's statewide law, and participants who lived in the comparison states.

      Results

      The majority of youth in Minnesota were aware of the smoking restrictions in restaurants and bars following the law. After implementation of the law, Minnesota participants who previously lived without a local law (versus comparison) were more likely to perceive fewer adult and peer smokers and less likely to report leaving social events early because it was too smoky. No changes in smoking behaviors were observed before and after the law. Minnesota participants, however, who lived without a prior law (versus participants with a prior law) were more likely to attribute a quit attempt after the law to smoking restrictions in restaurant and bars.

      Conclusions

      Results suggest that Minnesota's law has changed perceptions of the tobacco environment. Longer-term follow-up may be needed to observe changes in smoking behavior.
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