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					                                                                                          NEWS RELEASE

Karl Oestreich  651-662-1502                      Karen Lyons              651-662-1415

    Blue Cross Announces Healthy Air Finalists for Prevention Minnesota Funding

             Funding will support community-led efforts to reduce secondhand smoke

        EAGAN, Minn. (May 26, 2006) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) has
announced the selection of 11 proposals to promote clean indoor air policies in communities around the
state. The initiative — Communities for Healthy Air — is part of Prevention Minnesota, Blue Cross’
long-term health improvement initiative that tackles preventable heart disease and cancers by addressing
their root causes — tobacco use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating.
        “Tobacco is the leading cause of death and disease in the United States,” said Marc Manley,
M.D., vice president and medical director of population health at Blue Cross. “Nationally, secondhand
smoke also causes at least 35,000 heart disease deaths and 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year among
non-smokers and costs more than $10 billion in health care costs, disability assistance and lost
productivity. This is a critical problem, so we’re pleased to provide support to local organizations and
communities as they improve the health of all Minnesotans through smoke-free environments.”
        The selected projects emerged from a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Each
eligible application went through a two-part expert review process. While funding is contingent on
successful contract negotiation, the following organizations were selected as finalists for the Communities
for Healthy Air funding:
    •   American Cancer Society, Midwest Division, Inc.
    •   Association for Nonsmokers Minnesota (two projects)
    •   Beltrami Tobacco Education Awareness Movement (B-TEAM)
    •   Blue Earth County Medical Society
    •   CentraCare Health Foundation
    •   Clay County Public Health
    •   Hennepin Medical Society
    •   Kandiyohi County Tobacco Coalition
                                                    — more —
Blue Cross announces funding for community-led efforts to reduce secondhand smoke /Page 2

    •   Nobles-Rock Community Health Services
    •   Ramsey Medical Society

    Communities for Healthy Air funding is a part of a larger community funding initiative by Blue
Cross’ Prevention Minnesota. Other current community funding projects encourage regular physical
activity among Minnesotans. Funding for 14 Communities on the Move projects to promote physical
activity was announced May 17. An additional 20 to 50 more will be announced later this year. The
finalists for two additional community funding initiatives — Active Community Planning and Active
Community Assessment and Engagement — will be announced in July. Those two programs will help
Minnesota city and county governments incorporate walking paths, greenways, transportation systems
and land-use policies into their community planning. Funding for all these programs in 2006 will total
approximately $5.8 million.
        Community funding complements Prevention Minnesota’s other core strategies, which include
smoking cessation services, clinical initiatives, public awareness campaigns and outreach to high-risk
groups. Prevention Minnesota’s broad-based approach follows the strategic guidance of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, which has cited community programs as an essential part of a
comprehensive health improvement program.
        For more information visit

         Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was
chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote
a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A not-for-profit,
taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.6 million members in
Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and
Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered
in Chicago. Go to to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.