The public opinion firm SurveyUSA recently released a series of questions asked of a random sample of 500 adults in Minnesota addressing a variety of social public policy issues on the state's legislative agenda.
Regarding the proposed smoking ban taken up by the legislature this session, a plurality of 41 percent of Minnesotans support a complete ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars across the state. However, 36 percent would only ban smoking in restaurants, and 22 percent would permit smoking in both classes of establishments.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the smoking rate in the Gopher State is just 20.7 percent. Therefore, even though smokers comprise a small minority of the state's population, a full 58 percent nonetheless believe the state should not intervene on their current right to smoke in bars (note: several cities, including Minneapolis, have instituted smoking bans in restaurants and bars that supercede state regulations).
Minnesota's smoking rate of 20.7 percent is the 23rd lowest in the United States, just below the national average of 20.9 percent. The rate in other Upper Midwestern states was quite similar to that of Minnesota: South Dakota at 20.3 percent, Iowa at 20.8 percent, and Wisconsin at 22.0 percent. As in most states, more men currently smoke in Minnesota (22.0 percent) than do women (19.5 percent).