Research Shows Tobacco's Price is Largest Factor in Reducing Smoking Prevalence

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New research released in the November 2012 supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) illustrates that the price of tobacco is the largest contributing factor to reducing smoking prevalence in Minnesota. Additional price increases and sustaining a strong system of other tobacco programs and policies could bring the smoking prevalence rate below 10 percent and save more than 55,000 lives in the next 30 years.


This research, the Minnesota SimSmoke model, was conducted by Dr. Raymond Boyle of ClearWay MinnesotaSM and Dr. David Levy of Georgetown University. The simulation model considered data on current, new and former smokers from 1993 to 2011 to determine the effectiveness of individual tobacco policies and programs on smoking rates in the state. The SimSmoke model then projected the life-saving potential of these programs in the future.

"SimSmoke provides us with new evidence that a comprehensive approach to reducing tobacco use in Minnesota works," said Dr. Raymond Boyle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Research at ClearWay Minnesota. "If we want to get serious about driving down smoking-related disease and death we need to stick to a multi-pronged strategy that includes, most notably, increasing the price of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco."

Together, policies and programs such as tax increases, smoke-free air laws, media campaigns, strong youth access laws and cessation treatment contributed to a 29 percent drop in smoking prevalence in Minnesota between 1993 and 2011. Price increases alone accounted for a 43 percent drop.

"The SimSmoke model has been replicated throughout the country and around the world, and the results are strikingly similar," said Dr. David Levy of Georgetown University. "Whether we are looking at data for Minnesota, Kentucky, California or England, SimSmoke accurately predicts current adult smoking rates, which is powerful. But what is more powerful is our ability to predict future smoking rates and how changes in the environment – like increasing tobacco taxes – will change the smoking rate and the number of smoking-related deaths."

Other research included in the AJPM supplement focuses on the impact of indoor-air policies, tobacco prevalence and access to treatment among priority populations and the regulation of menthol tobacco products. For more information and the full research supplement, please visit

Since 2000, ClearWay Minnesota has awarded more than $17 million in grants to Minnesota researchers. The impact of ClearWay Minnesota-funded research has been felt well beyond Minnesota's borders and has significantly contributed to the science base in the field of tobacco control.

About ClearWay MinnesotaSM

ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call (952) 767-1400 or visit

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota