Cessation - Tobacco Prevention and Control - Minnesota Department of Health

Helping People Quit Tobacco Use

Most people who smoke want to quit. The good news: free help is available to all Minnesotans.

Click to subscribe to the Minnesota Quitline Network newsletter. We will send you new resources and tools to help people in your community.

Return on Investment for Tobacco Cessation

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., causing over 6,300 deaths each year in Minnesota.1

Tobacco use has substantial direct and indirect costs for the state and the public, health care providers, employers, insurers and individuals. People who smoke have estimated health care costs that average 34 percent higher than nonsmokers.2 Spending on health care due to a smoking-related illness is estimated to cost Minnesota $3.19 billion each year.1 In addition, smoking costs Minnesota $4.3 billion in lost productivity each year.1 In total, annual costs to Minnesota’s economy from smoking are estimated in excess of $7 billion.1

In Minnesota, over $563 million of smoking-related health care costs are covered by Medicaid.3

Tobacco dependence treatment is one of the most cost-effective preventive services, providing substantial return on investment in the short and long term.4 Investments in smoking cessation lead to improved health outcomes, resulting in lower health care costs and more affordable health insurance premiums.2

Return on Investment for Providers, Health Systems, and Clinics

An estimated 70 percent of the 40 million adult smokers in the U.S. see a health care provider each year, representing over 28 million opportunities for brief intervention and treatment. Data show that advice from health care providers increases the use of evidence-based cessation treatments and improves outcomes.5, 6

Tobacco use screening and brief intervention is one of the three most cost-effective clinical preventive services.7, 8

Research shows that people are much more likely to successfully quit tobacco use if they receive help.3 In 2018, nearly have Minnesota’s adult smokers, reported making a quit attempt in the past 12 months.9 Data show that advice from health care providers increases the use of evidence-based cessation treatments and improves outcomes.10

Return on Investment for Insurers and Employers

For most smoking cessation treatments, the benefits of providing such treatments greatly outweigh the cost of providing them.11

Cessation program expenditures can be fully offset in three years.

Over a three-year period, expenditures for smoking cessation programs in the range of $144 to $804 per smoker can be fully offset by health care cost savings.2 Greater savings will likely occur within special populations, such as pregnant women ($3 in health care costs for every $1 invested in smoking cessation treatment12) and persons with cardiac conditions ($47 during the first year and about $853 over the following seven years13). 

Smoking cessation increases productivity.

It is estimated that employees who smoke will cost self-insured employers an additional $5,816 annually, on average, including absenteeism, smoking breaks, healthcare costs and other benefits.14

Download this information: Return on Investment for Tobacco Cessation (PDF)

Learn about Free Medications and Counseling

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare cover counseling and the following medications like patches, gum, lozenges, nicotine inhaler and nasal spray, bupropion, and Chantix®.

People who smoke should talk to their doctor or pharmacist about quitting.

QUITPLAN® Services

QUITPLAN Services logoA free program available to anyone who wants to quit tobacco and offers a wide array of tools for eligible Minnesotans. Tools include text messaging, an email program, a quit guide, and starter kits with two weeks of free patches, gum, or lozenges. Minnesotans should visit www.quitplan.com or call 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).

Download Materials from QUITPLAN® Services. Health care providers can download free QUITPLAN® Services materials to promote quitting help to the people they serve. Materials include posters, palm cards, and brochures in multiple languages.

ClearWay Minnesota, the organization that funds and runs QUITPLAN Services, is a life limited organization and will close by 2022. As such, all of ClearWay Minnesota’s programs will end.

QUITPLAN Services will end enrollments in March 2020 for both the QUITPLAN Helpline (telephone counseling plus nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)) and Individual QUITPLAN Services (NRT Starter kits, email and text programs and printed quit guides), but anyone registered for any of the services by that time will be able to finish their quitting program and will receive their NRT, materials, emails and texts.

Tools for Helping People Quit

Refer People You Serve through the Minnesota Quitline Network

logo for the Minnesota Quitline Network The Minnesota Quitline Network enables health professionals and community organizations to use a single form and fax number to refer the people they serve to tobacco quitline support. All Minnesota residents – whether covered by a health plan or not – have access to free support to quit.

Learn more about the Minnesota Quitline Network.

More tools

For dental professionals

  • Tips® for Dental Professionals
  • Tobacco Cessation Webinar Series (Minnesota Dental Association)
    A free webinar on tobacco cessation, worth one fundamental continuing education credit and focusing on: 
    • Tobacco’s role as a common risk factor for oral diseases
    • Learning how to assess the patient
    • Motivational interviewing techniques
    • Available resources, and referral options.

For pharmacists


  1. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. 2017 Health Care Costs and Smoking in Minnesota: The Bottom Line. January 2017.
  2. Making the Business Case for Smoking Cessation Programs: 2012 Update” A report by Leif Associates. http://www.prevent.org/data/images/report%20bcc%20of%20tobacco%20cessation%202012%20update.pdf
  3. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/minnesota
  4. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.
  5. “The Role of Health Care Systems in Increased Tobacco Cessation,” Susan J. Curry, Paula A. Keller, C. Tracy Orleans, and Michael C. Fiore, 1/03/2008
  6. “A Practical Guide to Working with Health-Care Systems on Tobacco-Use Treatment,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006
  7. Maciosek MV, Coffield AB, Edwards NM, Flottemesch TJ, Goodman MJ, Solberg LI. Priorities among effective clinical preventive services: results of a systematic review and analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2006 Jul;31(1):52-61.
  8. Maciosek MV, Coffield AB, Flottemesch TJ, Edwards NM, Solberg LI. Greater use of preventive services in U.S. health care could save lives at little or no cost. Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Sep;29(9):1656-60.
  9. Tobacco Use in Minnesota: 2018 Update. Minneapolis, MN: ClearWay MinnesotaSM and Minnesota Department of Health; January 2019.
  10. Curry SJ, Keller PA, Orleans CT, Fiore MC. The Role of Health Care Systems in Increased Tobacco Cessation. Annual Review of Public Health. April 2008;29:411-428.
  11. Rumberger, J., Hollenbeak, C., Kline, D. “Potential Costs and Benefits of Smoking Cessation for Minnesota.” Penn State University (2010).
  12. Ruger JP, Emmons KM. Economic evaluations of smoking cessation and relapse prevention programs for pregnant women: a systematic review. Value Health. 2008 Mar-Apr;11(2):180-90.
  13. Ong M, Glantz S. Cardiovascular health and economic effects of smoke-free workplaces, American Journal of Medicine. 2004;117:32-38.
  14. Berman M, Crane R, Seiber E, et al. Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Tobacco Control 2014; 23(5):426-433
Updated Monday, 05-Aug-2019 11:57:20 CDT