Smoking rates among Minnesota 18- to 24-year-olds have fallen dramatically as part of an overall decline in adult smoking.

Only 15 percent of the young adults in that age group last year said they smoke, down from 22 percent in 2010, data from the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey show.

Because of that plunge, young adults no longer have the state’s highest smoking rate. That distinction belongs to adults ages 25 to 44 years old, with 19 percent smoking.

Overall, fewer Minnesotans are smoking. The survey found 14 percent of Minnesotans were smokers last year. That’s down almost two percentage points from 2010, the last time researchers conducted the survey, which interviewed more than 9,000 Minnesotans by phone in 2014.

The survey found half of adult smokers in Minnesota reported trying to quit in response to Minnesota’s $1.60 per pack cigarette tax increase in 2013, said Raymond Boyle, research director for ClearWay Minnesota, which sponsored the research.

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While the overall drop is statistically significant, the numbers are still too high, he said.

“There’s still 580,000 people – adults – smoking in Minnesota and that’s really still too many people,” Boyle added. “We need smokers to move towards thinking about quitting.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • Nearly 6 percent of Minnesota adults used electronic cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days in 2014. That’s a big jump from 2010 when the rate was less than 1 percent. Among those who said they used e-cigarettes, 11.7 percent have never smoked.
  • Women smokers use menthol cigarettes at 29.2 percent, while young adults have the highest menthol use rate of any age group at 31.6 percent.
  • The percentage of Minnesotans with smoke-free home rules has increased to 89 percent, from 83 percent in 2007, when the Freedom to Breathe Act took effect, making Minnesota’s bars, restaurants and workplaces smoke-free.