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Smoke Free News for January 2015

In this issue:

MN Smoking Rate Falls to 14.4 Percent

The Minnesota adult smoking rate is at an all-time low. ClearWay Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health recently released a new Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) - the most thorough and accurate source of information about tobacco use in Minnesota. The MATS survey found that Minnesota’s adult smoking rate has declined to the lowest recorded rate, 14.4 percent - down from 22.1 percent in 1990.
The 2014 MATS survey divided the state into eight regions. The smoking rate in the Southeast region (which includes Goodhue, Dodge, Rice, and Steele counties) was at 13.0 percent. The 13.0 percent rate is the second lowest regional smoking rate in the state. This was the first time the survey took data by region. It isn’t clear why some regions have lower smoking rates.

Currently, the Four Corners Partnership has been working on updating and strengthening local tobacco ordinances. These updates are to protect youth from picking up this deadly habit.

According to the survey, young adults (18-24) no longer have the highest smoking rate, which is the first time in the 14 years this survey has been conducted. Their rates dropped from 21.8 percent to 15.3 percent. This could stem from policies that have passed in Minnesota in the last few years. These policies keep tobacco products away from kids and help smokers quit.

In 2013, the state implemented a $1.60 per pack tax increase on cigarettes. Smokers reported that the tax influenced their smoking behaviors. 60.8 percent of the people interviewed stated that the tax had them thinking about quitting. In addition to thinking about quitting, the tax increase influenced 48.1 percent to cut down on smoking and 44.2 percent to attempt to quit.

The Four Corners Partnership and our partners around the state have made some great efforts in reducing tobacco’s harm. With the smoking rate the lowest it’s ever been in Minnesota, we have come a long way in our efforts to educate and reduce tobacco use, but we aren’t done working yet. We hope to see tobacco use of all forms decrease for many more years to come.




Meet Alicia Schumacher

Dodge County Public Health

Hello, my name is Alicia Schumacher and I have recently been hired by Dodge County Public Health as the Health Educator.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health from Minnesota State University, Mankato in May of 2014. This is my first job out of college so I am very busy learning all the details of grant work. Although it is challenging work I feel that I am getting great experience to firmly plant my feet in this profession.

It is rewarding to be a part of tobacco policy work. I have learned a lot in my first few months of working in this position. I have enjoyed being able to educate others on the harmful effects of smoking, secondhand smoke, and electronic cigarettes. I appreciate this work because it protects those of us who choose not to smoke and also provides options for those who would like to quit.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I have a Jack Russell Terrier named Ozzie that I love to take on walks. For fun I like doing various craft projects, scrapbooking, and watching hockey.


Starting the New Year with a Smoke-Free Home
The residents of seven rental properties in our area can now be assured that their homes will be smoke-free. Smoke-free policies took effect on January 1, 2015.


Rental Property

Seven rental properties started the New Year with a smoke-free policy.


Cannon Falls

Stonehouse Apartments

Bridge Run Townhomes


Northern Oaks Townhomes

Pine Island

Wazuweeta Woods Apartments


Harvest Ridge Townhomes

Red Wing

Eagle Ridge Apartments

Pheasant Run Townhomes

These smoke-free policies didn’t happen overnight. Lloyd Management Inc., a large property management company with headquarters in Mankato, asked the Four Corners Partnership for help to implement the smoke-free policies at these seven properties back in May 2014.

The owners of the properties had made the decision that they wanted their buildings to be smoke-free. Lloyd Management set an implementation date of January 1, 2015.

Notices about the new smoke-free policy were mailed to all residents in June. The residents were invited to attend an informational meeting at their property during September.

All of these meetings were facilitated by Tom Wolff from Goodhue County Health and Human Services. Lloyd’s on-site manager for each property also participated. Tom shared information about the many ways secondhand smoke harms the health of children and adults. He also explained how tobacco smoke causes property damage that is expensive to repair. The residents were given an opportunity to ask questions about the new policy and express any concerns they had.

The Four Corners Partnership presented a certificate to each of the on-site managers to recognize Lloyd Management for protecting the health of the community by adopting a smoke-free policy.


Almost 90% of adult Minnesotans live in homes where smoking is not allowed anywhere.

Source: 2014 MN Adult Tobacco Survey

Share walls, not smoke!

The vast majority of Minnesotans prohibit smoking in their homes, but more than one out of five homes in Minnesota are in multi-unit buildings.

Tobacco smoke does not respect boundaries like walls or doors. It seeps through gaps and cracks and moves throughout the building. When one person in the building smokes, everyone smokes.



Meet Tracy Ackman-Shaw

Rice County Public Health

Hello, my name is Tracy Ackman-Shaw and I have been hired by Rice County Public Health as the Health Educator. With my new role, I have been given the opportunity to work with you under the Tobacco Free Communities and ClearWay Minnesota grants.

I am excited to be working with the residents of Rice County to make a positive impact. Some of my focus areas include: updating local tobacco ordinances, educating on smoke-free multi-unit housing, advocating for 24-hour smoke-free daycare and sharing the facts on electronic cigarettes.

As a Health Educator, I am passionate about prevention. The policy work and prevention models are exactly what motivates me when I look at making a difference in Rice County.

I have many years of work experience in healthcare, non-profits and state government work. As Rice County’s Health Educator, this is a great opportunity for me to blend all of that experience. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Education.

In my free time, I spend time with my family; including keeping up with my son’s activities. We enjoy spending time outdoors, going to zoos and 4-H activities. I am also an avid quilter and genealogy researcher.





Smoke-Free News Archives

Read recent editions of the Smoke Free News


October 2014 - read newsletter


June 2014 - read newsletter


January 2014 - read newsletter

October 2013 - read newsletter


August 2013 - read newsletter

January 31, 2013 - read newsletter

November 29, 2012 - read newsletter