Mission Statement

The mission of re:TH!NK, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, is to improve the health of our residents by reducing tobacco use and exposure through prevention strategies which include community outreach and involvement to move policy forward collaboratively, across our multi-jurisdictional area.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Halloween is just around the corner and while scary pumpkins, costumes, and horror movies are sure to generate scares, there's a new trend that's even more terrifying: our young people are increasingly turning to new types of tobacco and nicotine products.

Wisconsin's teen smoking rates are currently at all-time lows, and that's news to celebrate! Unfortunately, as high school smoking rates hit lows of 11%, more teens are trying e-cigarettes (or vape pens) than ever before. The Wisconsin high school e-cigarette use rate is at 8%, according to the 2014 Wisconsin Youth Tobacco Survey.

Even more disturbing, a recent study out of Connecticut published in the Medical Journal of Pediatrics showed an estimated 18.7% of the 4,000 Connecticut youth surveyed had used e-cigarettes (or vape pens) to "vaporize" cannabis. More teens using marijuana in any form is a trend no parent, guardian, teacher, health care provider, etc. wants to see. Check out this radio interview and listen to the discussion.

There is little wonder why these products are attracting younger users, since many of them are trendy, electronic, and featuring kid-friendly flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy.

Partners throughout the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network and members of our FACT groups have surveyed tobacco and nicotine products in counties in the MJC (Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Winnebago counties). The results of the surveys found products ranging from little flavored cigars, chewing tobacco, and snus to e-cigarettes (or vape pens) and e-cigarette juices. All the products could be found in candy-like flavors.

Thankfully, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network and coalitions all around Wisconsin are out in the community working to help our kids avoid the frightful fate of tobacco and nicotine addiction. Stay in touch with the recent happenings in tobacco prevention by following our Facebook page!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Take me out to the ball game!

Summertime and baseball go together like peanuts and popcorn! As this summer comes to a close, we can reflect on big changes happening at baseball parks from coast to coast. In Boston, San Francisco, and most recently Los Angeles, tobacco has been knocked out of the ballparks.

Data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that while the use of combustible tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes has dropped significantly from 2001-2013 in high school students, the use of smokeless tobacco like chew and snus has remained unchanged among non-athletes and has increased among high school athletes.

Athletes may be more likely to use certain tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco, specifically if they perceive them to be harmless. This highlights the need for greater tobacco education programs, including smokeless tobacco, among youth. Just about any young person you ask will say people shouldn't smoke... unfortunately, smokeless tobacco seems harmless to many, youth and adults a like. And when our favorite childhood athletes are using tobacco, we still look up to them and want to be just like them.

Taking tobacco out of baseball is a great way to get the word out to young people that tobacco is harmful, in any form. Curt Schilling, baseball great, has been a huge advocate for tobacco prevention since being diagnosed with cancer after struggling with an addiction to chewing tobacco for years. He wrote and shared a Letter to My Younger Self about his life and how it could be different if at 16 he did not become addicted to tobacco. One of the many lines that stand out,
"You will get message after message, but your addiction will always win, until it wins the biggest battle... It's difficult for you to understand in this current phase of your life, but by chewing tobacco, you are jeopardizing your participation in what will be some of the your most important moments."
It's stories like Curt's and many others that repeat the importance of keeping tobacco products out of sports. Young people look up to athletes whether they know it or not. By keeping sports tobacco free we can prevent so many young athletes from becoming addicted to tobacco.

From the east to the west coast we've seen tobacco knocked out of parks. As more and more parks do the same, hopefully we will see the number of student athletes using tobacco decline once and for all.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

It's time to go back to school!

It's that time of year again! If they haven't already, many parents will soon be taking their kids to registration and school shopping. And just around the corner are days of making plans for juggling kids' school and after-school activities.

(image from Corbis Images)

One more item for parents to think about is how they can help their kids stay tobacco and nicotine free this school year. While monitoring your child's tobacco use used to be as simple as smelling their clothes for smoke, new tobacco and nicotine products are making the task more and more difficult.

While fewer Wisconsin students are smoking than ever before (only about 1 in 10 high school students), more and more students are trying and becoming addicted to e-cigarettes (aka. vape pens). Youth use of e-cigs tripled in just one year nationally.

Sadly, the candy-like flavors and lower costs lead teens to think smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes are harmless, when the truth is they carry serious consequences. Like a lifetime addiction to nicotine, countless types of cancer, respiratory problems, and more. Tobacco and nicotine negatively affect almost every part of the body. See graphic below.

We of course want to end on a positive note and there is good news... re:TH!NK, coalitions, schools, parents, legislators, and others throughout Wisconsin and world are working to reverse the deadly trends of tobacco and nicotine. That's why we continue to do what we do, because we know an impact can be made.

To learn more about our efforts, connect with us on Facebook or email us at rethink@co.winnebago.wi.us!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

World No Tobacco Day

Globally tobacco kills 6 million people each year, of that more than 600,000 are non-smokers affected by second-hand smoke. Without action, by 2030 the epidemic will kill more than 8 million per year and more than 80% of those deaths will be of those living in low- and middle-income countries.
On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) and it's partners recognize World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). This year, the focus is on ending the illegal trade of tobacco products worldwide.
Although it may seem like small problem, illegal tobacco trade affects health as well as economic growth and illegal tobacco sales aren't just happening in some countries. Almost all countries worldwide are affected by illegal tobacco trade with as much as one in every 10 cigarettes consumed globally.  
The World No Tobacco Day 2015 campaign is focusing it's efforts on the 5 main goals below.
  1. Raise awareness on the harm to people's health caused by the illicit trade in tobacco products, especially the youth and low-income groups, due to the increased accessibility and affordability of these products due to their lower costs.
  2. Show how health care gains and programs, tobacco control policies, like increased tax and prices, pictorial health warnings and other measures are undermined by the illicit trade in tobacco products.
  3. Demonstrate how the tobacco industry has been involved in the illicit trade of tobacco products.
  4. Highlight how the illicit trade of tobacco products is a means of amassing great wealth for criminal groups to finance other organized crime activities, including drugs, human and arms trafficking, as well as terrorism
  5. Promote the ratification of, accession to and use of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products by all Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its early entry into force through the active involvement of all relevant stakeholders.
Join the campaign and raise awareness through social media to amp up the message and help curb illegal tobacco trade.
This blog is a summary of information from the WHO World No Tobacco Day 2015 Campaign. To learn more visit, http://www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2015/en/.