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ST. PAUL -- After climbing an alarming 30 percent during the late 1990s, smoking rates for Minnesota teens dropped significantly during the past two years, according to Minnesota Health Department officials.
The department's 2002 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey, to be released today, reports the use of any tobacco product by middle school students (ages 11-14) and high school students (ages 15-18) dropped by 11 percent between 2000 and 2002. The decrease in cigarette smoking for middle school students was even greater -- down 21 percent during the two-year period, according to the Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm credits the dramatic turnabout to the sophisticated, youth-oriented anti-smoking campaign Target Market funded by endowment money from the state's landmark settlement with the tobacco companies.