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.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deadly in Pink

On the heels of RJR’s successful Camel No. 9 launch last year, Philip Morris has just introduced new packaging for its iconic brand, Virginia Slims. These "purse packs" are like no other packs on the U.S. market. They are shaped like cosmetics boxes and hold "super slim" cigarettes that are very small in diameter -- there are 20 cigarettes in a pack that is half the width of a regular pack. And of course the new purse packs come in new colors: pink and teal. (Sound familiar?) The hip packaging and tiny cigarettes make it clear at whom this product is aimed: young women and girls.

Philip Morris plans to launch these repackaged Virginia Slims with a major marketing campaign by the first quarter of 2009 and these new "purse packs" are already on sale in many markets. You can probably find them in your community. We can expect to see heavy promotion at point-of-sale and in other ways, including events.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Six years after the introduction of Virginia Slims in 1968, the smoking initiation rate for 12 year old girls had increased 110%. Now, in large part to that kind of targeted marketing, 155,000 women in the U.S. die every year from diseases caused by smoking and those diseases result in $34.7 billion in annual health care costs. Data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that women are more likely than men to die from COPD, in spite of having lower smoking and overall death rates. Lung cancer is the only form of cancer among women that is on the rise and it is the leading cancer killer of women, "outkilling" breast and all genital cancers, combined. Smoking causes heart disease – the # 1 killer of women, many forms of cancer, respiratory illnesses such as emphysema, low birth weight, reduced fertility, early menopause, osteoporosis and the list goes on.
Find Your Voice: The Camel No. 9 marketing unleashed a furor of activities against the extensive and lavish marketing of that brand. We need to harness that energy and strike back again to counter Philip Morris’ blatant attempt to addict a new generation of women.

Here are some things that you can do to end this appalling marketing ploy:
  • Find out it the purse packs are available in your community and document the point of sale marketing (likely to start late this year and early next year) by taking pictures and/or noting where and when the marketing is taking place. It is powerful to show how pervasive the marketing is when educating the public and policy makers.
  • Use your documentation when you do outreach in your community or state to the public, media and policy makers. You can also use it to recruit new partners, particularly groups that work with women and girls, to tobacco control.

  • Actively support measures that are proven to reduce youth smoking rates, such as increased excise taxes. The more cigarettes cost, the less likely young people are to use them.

  • Actively support passage of legislation to give FDA the authority to regulate tobacco. At a minimum, this would eliminate the use of the "light" descriptor, reduce any point-of-sale marketing to black and white, and cover 30% of the pack with a large warning label, marring the sleek look designed to lure young women.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids would love to see your documentation of the marketing – it will help us make the case in Washington that the tobacco industry must be reined in. Please send your documentation to Victoria Almquist at valmquist@tobaccofreekids.org.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oshkosh Northwestern Editor Supports Statewide Smoke-Free Air

On November 13, the Oshkosh Northwestern printed an article about business-owners worries about a statewide smoke-free air law that could be passes in 2009. Alex Hummel, editor for the Northwestern, also commented on the issue on November 13:

"Plain and simple, the time has come to enact an indoor smoking ban in Wisconsin. It's a public health matter that, left to individual communities to legislate, has created a counterproductive patchwork of bans around the state. Here, things have gotten tacky. The Fox Valley has become the model argument for a statewide ban, with Oshkosh, like Wisconsin, now the odd one out among the region's larger communities.

In 2004, Oshkosh voters endorsed a restaurant smoking ban: No smoking in places where food isthe dominant revenue generator. That was followed by Appleton's 2005 decision to ban smoking in all businesses, a citywide indoor ban including taverns. Last month, the city of Fond du Lac enacted its own citywide indoor smoking ban. So, the first to approve legislation in the region now has the least-stringent version on the books. Smoking law, in the north-to-south span of Lake Winnebago, is a hodge-podge of policy and rules.

Not only is a statewide ban politically inevitable, it is increasingly accepted by everyday residents. In early 2007, a statewide poll conducted by a team of firms found 64 percent of respondents to a random phone survey in favor of a statewide indoor smoking ban; 34 percent opposed it. In April, another poll found 69 percent support statewide. But let's not let facts get in the way.

Furthermore, Wisconsin is its own island, surrounded by Illinois' and Minnesota's statewide indoor smoking bans. Attempts to propose and approve a statewide ban here in the last year or two haven't cleared final hurdles, given our split legislature. But, now, with Democratic control of both houses of our state legislature, odds are a statewide smoking ban has a clear shot to passage.

So, let's get it done, take a healthy step forward and confront on the rest of the problems that confront Wisconsin. A prolonged debate on the inevitable is guaranteed to distract Wisconsin from what is now feared to be a $5 billion deficit and long-neglected reforms within education, corrections and general government.

Ultimately, Wisconsin would ban smoking indoors, not tobacco products, not smoking altogether. Lighting up outdoors, in your car or in your home will continue to be your call and, unfortunately, our collective burden."

Thank you Mr. Hummel for supporting this important health issue and taking a public stand!
If you'd like to thank Alex, his email is: ahummel@thenorthwestern.com

Friday, October 31, 2008

Update on WI WINS Compliance Checks

Winnebago County Illegal Tobacco Sales Nearly Triple

(Winnebago County)- The Winnebago County Tobacco Free Coalition, in partnership with the Wisconsin Wins (WI WINS) program and local law enforcement agencies completed their first round of tobacco compliance checks. So far this year, Winnebago County has a non-compliance rate of 27%, with 41 of 151 retailers selling tobacco illegally to minors. In 2007, Winnebago County had a non-compliance rate of 10% non-compliance (32 sales of 302 attempts).

Emily Dieringer, Winnebago County Tobacco Free Coalition Coordinator and Health Educator, states, "It’s very disturbing to see that in Winnebago County it is way too easy for youth to access tobacco products. More education on the laws and how to properly check a driver’s license is needed." During the remainder of the year, the Coalition will strengthen its efforts to educate retailers and their in hopes to increase the number of businesses that deny the sale of tobacco to minors.

Some municipalities have a very low number of sales:
  • Winneconne, 0 of 7 (0%)
  • Omro 1 of 6 (16%)
  • Menasha 2 of 15 (13%)
  • Town of Menasha, 2 of 17 (12%).
Other areas have a higher number of sales: Oshkosh, 15 of 45 (33%), Neenah 8 of 29 (28%) and Winnebago County towns, 13 of 38 (34%).The WI WINS program’s main focus is on those retailers who do the right thing by not selling tobacco to minors. "We want to recognize the 73% of retailers who don’t sell tobacco to minors and we do so when after completing each check with a thank you note and reward," Dieringer adds.

WI WINS is a proven tobacco prevention and control effort sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to reduce illegal sales and access to tobacco by minors. Each year WI WINS conducts compliance checks throughout the state in efforts to reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors and prevent youth tobacco use. The program utilizes trained 15-17 year-olds under adult supervision to attempt to purchase tobacco from local tobacco retailers. On average, the state has seen a steady decline in non-compliance rates since the program’s inception in 2001.For more information visit http://www.wiwins.com/.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DFC Press Release

Winnebago County’s Health Department Earns More than $600,000 to Fight Youth Substance Abuse

(Oshkosh, WI) – The Winnebago County Health Department has been awarded a grant of up to $625,000 by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Public Health Director and Health Officer Doug Gieryn announced October 8, 2008.

The Drug Free Communities Grant program awards up to $625,000 over five years to community organizations that to work to help keep youth from using illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The grant period began October 1. Winnebago County will receive up to $125,000 per year for the next five years.

"It’s not enough to tell our kids and teenagers not to use drugs," Gieryn said. "We need to help them understand why they should stay away from these substances. This grant will help us continue to reach that goal."

Communities with a Drug Free Communities program have proven that their efforts are effective in preventing substance use and abuse among teens when compared with national rates, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The grant will support the Winnebago County Drug Free Coalition and expand its efforts in reducing tobacco use and combating alcohol, prescription drug and other substance abuse.

"We encourage parents, youth and area community leaders and organizations to join and become actively involved in the Coalition’s activities to help protect families from the harms of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs," said Emily Dieringer, interim Winnebago County DFC Coordinator.
Winnebago County is actively recruiting to hire a grant coordinator to oversee the Drug Free Coalition’s activities.

The Drug Free Communities Program, created under the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, provides grants to communities to help increase public participation in local antidrug efforts.
To learn more, contact the Winnebago County Health Department at (920) 232-3000.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Senate and Assembly Candidates Show Support for Smoke-Free Workplaces

On Tuesday, October 14, at UW Oshkosh’s Reeve Memorial Union nine area candidates were invited to share their views with the public on three "hot button" health-related issues. Guest speakers provided an informative educational session for the candidates and the public before the candidates gave their comments. Karen Aspenson, UWO Social Work Professor, spoke on the urgent need for Mental Health Parity. Bill Smith, State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), spoke on the complexity of Universal Health Care. Maureen Busalacchi, Director of SmokeFree Wisconsin, spoke on the importance of Smoke Free Air. The event was moderated by Jerry Burke (formerly with WBAY).

Candidates in attendance included John Townsend (R) Assembly District 52, Dick Spanbauer (R) and Jeff Mann (D) Assembly District 53, Mark Reiff (R) and Gordon Hintz (D) Assembly District 54, Dean Kaufert (R) and Mark Westphal (D) Assembly District 55, and Susan Garcia Franz (D) Assembly District 56. Senate District 18 candidate Jess King (D) sent a representative from her campaign as she could not attend due to the Oshkosh City Council meeting.

Each candidate was given one minute to respond to each topic after the educational session. Specifically on the issue of Smoke Free Air, candidates were asked if they would support a 100% comprehensive state-wide smoke-free workplace law that includes bars and restaurants. Townsend and Kaufert want to represent what a majority of their constituents want, so they both support such a state-wide law. Hintz, Garcia Franz and King would support such a state-wide law specifically noting the health effects of second hand smoke and the cost to treat tobacco-related diseases. Reiff does not support any state-wide smoke-free law explaining that it is a property rights issue and businesses should make that decision. Mann and Westphal would support a state-wide law if there were certain exceptions for taverns (Mann would not support a 100% comprehensive workplace bill as it stands now). Spanbauer, although torn, would want equal treatment for all workplaces and would support a state-wide law.

The forum was attended by over 100 potential voters living in Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties. It was sponsored by Winnebago County Public Health, the Fond du Lac County Health Department, the Winnebago County Tobacco Free Coalition, the Fond du Lac County Tobacco Control Coalition, UWO Student Social Work Association, Oshkosh Student Nursing Association, the UWO Kinesiology Club and the UWO HPER Club.

Thank you to all those who attended and to those who helped make the event a success.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How do Winnebago and Fond du Lac Counties MEASURE UP?

Current Issues on Health: Candidate Forum is TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 from 5:30-7:00pm at Reeve Union, UW Oshkosh. Hope to see you there. Details from the event will be posted soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Drug Free Communities Grant update

As many of you may know by now, the Winnebago County Health Department received word that we've been awarded a new grant to form a Drug Free Communities Coalition. We won't receive our "official letter" probably until the end of September but the website below lists us as a new grantee for 2008. This is a wonderful opportunity for our county and will be a great addition to our Tobacco Free Coalitions work. I will hopefully post some of the details of the grant before our meeting on September 16.

Check it out!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just wanted to share this article from about a month ago originally from the Boston Globe. Hope it re-ignites the passion you all have for reducing the prevalance of tobacco in Winnebago County. Our efforts DO make a difference!

And don't forget our next meeting is at Buffalo Wild Wings in Oshkosh at 4:30 on Tuesday September 16. See you there!

Massachusetts Tobacco Prevention Program Drove Dramatic Reduction in Smoking Rates, Officials Say
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Thursday announced that the state's smoking rate declined by 8 percent in 2007, attributing the reduction to the reinvigoration of Massachusetts' tobacco control program, the Boston Globe reports. The report, which is based on survey data, indicates that the proportion of Massachusetts adults who smoke decreased from 27.8 percent in 1986 to just 16.4 percent in 2007, marking an 8 percent reduction over 2006 figures and a historic low for the state. Previous research also indicates that the reduction in tobacco use was especially pronounced among adolescents, as the percentage of teenage smokers who reported smoking regularly decreased from 20.5 percent in 2006 to 17.7 percent in 2007.
Massachusetts health authorities credit the improvements in large part to the recent renewal of a statewide anti-tobacco campaign. The two-month, $500,000 initiative included an "aggressive anti-smoking television ad campaign" depicting former smokers whose health was affected by tobacco use, as well as a Web site where state residents can access information on smoking cessation. The health department expects the smoking rate to further decline during 2008, citing evidence that, since the state increased the tobacco tax by $1 in early July, residents made 7,000 calls to the state's tobacco quit line, up from a monthly average of between 400 and 500 calls.
Reflecting on the report's findings, tobacco control specialists warn that it is difficult to predict future smoking rates based on just one year of data. The former director of the state's tobacco control program, meanwhile, says the drop in smoking rates over the last three decades suggests that the state's commitment to tobacco prevention has "fundamentally changed the social norms around smoking in Massachusetts." (Smith, Boston Globe, 7/31/08)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Story from a Coalition Member

Smokefree WI asked our own Roger Dier from CTRI to write a piece for their blog. I thought we could get it out there a little quicker so everyone could read it. His story is below. Thanks Roger for sharing.

(his dad is third person from the left who is standing, No. 4. )

One Victim in the 100 Years War

Each of us involved on the various fronts of the 100 Years War on Tobacco probably has an emotional connection to someone who lost their lives because of tobacco use. I suspect that loss in some way fuels the blow torch of change that each of us feels is necessary. I am no different than you.

Before I tell my story, the phrase “100 Years War on Tobacco” may have slowed your reading pace. The director of UW-CTRI, Michael Fiore, has recently begun using that phrase to describe the protracted and sometimes frustrating struggle in which we are engaged. Dr. Fiore identifies the start of the 100 Years War on Tobacco with the first Surgeon General’s warning on tobacco use in 1964. We are close to being halfway through the 100 Years War and our victories in drastically reducing adult tobacco-use rates and rapidly increasing the number of states with tobacco-free worksite laws is remarkable.

A small part of our common success is encouraging clinicians who treat tobacco users to use the best evidentiary tobacco cessation treatments at every patient visit. The clipped shorthand reminder is to have the tobacco talk with “every patient at every visit.” The every patient at every visit intervention is a consistent and necessary attack to help patients permanently remove the cigarette, cigar, pipe or wad of tobacco from their lives. Ten years ago, a clinical model to treat every patient at every visit was introduced and we know it as the Five A’s: Ask, Assess, Advise, Assist and Arrange.

While we are thankful that the Five A’s model is here, my family could have used that model in the first decade of the 100 Years War instead of in the fourth.

I’d like to introduce you to my dad, Richard (Dick) Dier. Born in Fort Frances, Ontario in 1935, like a lot of Canadian kids he took up the national sport—ice hockey—and Dick Dier was good at it. When he was 13, his parents moved their family across the Rainy River to the International Falls, Minnesota. Sometime in the late 1940s, he put his first cigarette in his mouth.

As my dad grew into a young adult, he continued to smoke and continued to play hockey. Being an athlete who strove to be in top condition despite smoking a pack or two a day were diametrically opposite behaviors, but tobacco addiction, like many addictions, trashes the rational order of things. In 1958, investors launched a professional hockey team called the Green Bay Bobcats. My dad hopped on a DC-3 and flew south from Northern Minnesota to Green Bay to try out for the Bobcats and he made the team at age 23.

He played into his late 20s when he was forced to find a real job. He never stopped smoking as the years in his 30s and 40s sped by. In 1991, he was having problems with one of his knees (most likely some clutter was floating around from his hockey-playing days), so he went to an orthopedist who prescribed minor surgery to clean up his knee. During that visit, when my dad was 56 years old, someone noticed that he had early signs of COPD, or chonic obstructive pulmonary disease. That nurse or doctor advised him to quick smoking. My dad said he would think about it.

A week later my dad called that doctor’s office and said he wanted to try to quit. He got a prescription for the patch, and a month later was smoke-free for the first time in 40 years.

The date he quit smoking was something of which he was proud: Each year, he took my mother out for dinner on the anniversary of his quit date. I had quit smoking and using spit tobacco when I was in my late 20s, but my two brothers, their families and my family were very relieved when he quit. By quitting, I thought he and we had caught a break. My dad and my mom were in their mid-50s and healthy, their children were on their own, their work careers were winding down and the warren of grandchildren to spoil was growing.

In the spring of 1995 my dad dropped a little weight. I saw him on his 60th birthday (June 24, 1995) and noticed his weight was down. I didn’t say anything and remember feeling happy because he had gotten pudgy since quitting. In late July and early August of that year, his face would sometimes be puffy when he woke up in the morning. One Saturday morning in mid-August I biked over to my parents’ house and rapped on the back door. My dad had just gotten up and I was stunned: His face was so swollen that it looked as if it were beaten with two-by-fours.

The following Monday I called his doctor and they told my dad to come in. When he did, they took an X-ray and saw a shadow. That led to a CT scan, which revealed a significant mass that was impeding the flow of blood back to his heart when he was lying down.

He went in for a biopsy on Oct. 17, and I’ll always remember him talking to the surgeon before they wheeled his gurney into the operating room. He grabbed the surgeon’s hand with both of his and asked the surgeon to please fix his face.

They found a cancer, and it was virulent. As his oldest son, I gathered his entire medical history, from International Falls to Green Bay, and took all of it and him to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion and we hoped, a second chance. Before we left, I noticed that in all of his examinations before 1991 not one clinician talked to him about his smoking. The first time a clinician told him he needed to quit smoking occurred in that pre-surgery consult in 1991.

The journey from life to death for someone suffering from lung cancer is too visually horrible and emotionally painful to recall here. I will share this, however: On our way back from Mayo Clinic, he rued the day he ever started smoking and said, “Those goddamn cigarettes, they just don’t let you go.”

I often share my dad’s story with clinicians, and their crowded lives being what they are, I suspect that it’s one of the few things they take away from my presentations. My dad died on Feb. 12, 1996, about 100 days after he was first diagnosed. He was only 60 years old and he wasn’t ready to leave his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his friends or his life.

I tell my dad’s story to help clinicians understand how much power and responsibility they have when they talk to their patients who use tobacco. I am haunted to know that if a clinician had talked to him about quitting smoking in 1961, 1971 or 1981 instead of waiting until 1991, Dick Dier might be 73 years old today and wondering why the Green Bay Packers ever parted ways with Brett Favre.

--Roger Dier, MS, is a UW-CTRI outreach specialist in the Northeast Region.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

FDA regulation of tobacco products MAY actually happen!

Hi everyone,

If you haven't met me or didn't know, I'm Emily, the new Coordinator of the Winnebago County Tobacco-Free Coalition. I look foward to meeting and working with each of you on some exciting events coming up this year.

Some coming up soon include:
Oshkosh's National Night Out
Tuesday, August 5 from 4-8pm
South Park in Oshkosh

Back to School Fair
Thursday, August 7 from 12-6pm
FVTC Oshkosh

Winnebago County Fair
Thursday/Friday, August 7 and 8 from 3-5pm

I'll be bring the Tobacco Candy Store to each of these events. I am hoping to target youth and their parents. If any one is free to help at any of these events, email me: edieringer@co.winnebago.wi.us

On a different topic, the US House yesterday voted to give the FDA regulatory power over tobacco products. An article is below:

In a truly historic event today, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted overwhelmingly to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products. This action comes almost twelve years after the FDA under David Kessler first asserted jurisdiction over tobacco and more than eight years after the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could give the FDA that authority.

The overwhelming vote of 326 to 102 in favor of the legislation is rare in today's political climate and reflects the tremendous work that everyone around the country has done to educate the public and our policymakers about the toll of tobacco and the solutions needed to reduce that toll. Attached is the Campaign's statement on today's vote.

The version of the bill passed today includes a few modications from the bill voted on by the Energy and Commerce Committee in April. One important modfication is the addition of language drafted and approved by the Congressional Black Caucus regarding menthol cigarettes. We support these improvements, which accelerate the formation of the new FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee and direct it to issue recommendations on the regulation of menthol in cigarettes within one year of its establishment.

Additional provisions require FDA to publish an action plan to enforce restrictions on the advertising and promotion of menthol and other cigarettes to youth, with priority attention to enforcement in minority communities, and to assist State, local, and Tribal governments in carrying out their authority under the Act to prevent underage tobacco use, particularly in communities with a disproportionate use of menthol cigarettes by minors.The next step is the Senate, where the legislation has 57 co-sponsors, along with a handful of other members who have indicated they will support the bill on the floor.

We are hopeful, despite the limited time left on the Senate calendar, that today's overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House will help encourage the Senate to take up the issue in September.

If you want the full article/information, just email me!
Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to this very important health issue.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products!

The House Energy and Commerce Committee this afternoon voted overwhelmingly, 38 to 12, to approve the bill to grant the FDA authority over tobacco products. The committee also defeated all amendments to the weaken the bill. This is the first time a House committee has ever approved such legislation, and the strong, bipartisan vote provides powerful momentum. We will provide additional information later on next steps. Today's victory would not have happened without the hard work of advocates across the country who have contacted members of Congress, written letters to the editor and op-ends, participated in press conferences, and taken other action in support of this legislation. So thank you to everyone who has worked to support this legislation!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

US Smokeless Tobacco Company making it way into local events!

I just saw an advertisement for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo that is coming to the Resch Center in Green Bay on April 4-5th. Having just returned from the National Spit Tobacco Summit, I was acutely aware of the Copenhagen banner in the background footage. I called the Three Hills Rodeo company and they confirmed that US Smokeless is one of their sponsors for the rodeo series. At least for the Green Bay event, she noted that US Smokeless and/or Copenhagen will be included on the free rodeo program (500 printed for each event) that you pick up from the novelty booth, but there won't be a banner in the arena.

The Deanna Farve Hope Foundation that provides grants to uninsured and underinsured women with breast cancer is a partner for this event, and will receive a portion of the funds. I have contacted them and asked them to reconsider their partnership with an event that promotes smokeless tobacco use (known cause of oral cancer). Will you do the same? Their contact information is:

This is a family event. Check out their promotion:
"Three Hills Rodeo brings you this World's Toughest Bulls and Broncs event. Friday night is Family Night - adult tickets are $5 off with advance purchase and kids receive a free cowboy hat. On Saturday, don't forget to wear your pink for "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night to help support breast cancer research. Remember kids 12 and under tickets are 1/2 price every day!"
Tobacco-free rodeo links:

Three Hills Rodeo scheduled events in Wisconsin:
4-5 Resch Center Green Bay, WI World's Toughest Bulls & Broncs
18 Alliant Energy Center Madison, WI World's Toughest Bulls & Broncs
May 30-June 1 Wisconsin HS Rodeo Lancaster, WI WHSRA
16 Green Co. Fair Monroe, WI PRCA
13-14 Juneau Co. Fair Mauston, WI PRCA
16-17 Brown co. Fair DePere, WI PRCA

Contact information for Three Hills Rodeo to ask them to reconsider UST's sponsorship of their rodeo series: http://www.threehillsrodeo.com/index.html

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lt. Governor Lawton to Call for Action on Statewide Smoking Ban

Just incase your in town for lunch...stop on over...

Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton will urge the legislature to pass a statewide ban on smoking in all workplaces at 12:00 p.m. today, Thursday, March 6, 2008 at The Bar in Appleton.
Lt. Governor Lawton will be joined by Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.
WHERE: The Bar
427 West College Avenue
WHEN: 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Would you like to meet Lance Armstrong?!?!

What: Lance Armstrong at the Citizens for Smoke-free Air Rally
When: Tuesday, March 4th
Day at the Capitol lasts from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Rally goes from 12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Where: Monona Terrace in Madison
1 John Nolen Drive

RSVP here! (Free buses will be leaving from Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau, La Crosse, and Eau Claire)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let your voice be heard!

Today is the Public Hearing for AB 834, which is the Assembly version of SB150, which would eliminate Smoking in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. Since this came up fast, I'm sure many of you can not be there to share your position in person, but you may still contact all members of the Assembly Public Health Committee. I am including the contact information for all of the committee members. I strongly encourage you to educate them TODAY on the impact of smoke free workplaces. If we do not voice our concerns, they assume there is no support (which we know is not true, since polls show that 2/3 of the state population indeed support 100% smoke free work sites- including bars and taverns). Make sure to include your name and address. It is also helpful to include your personal legislators in on any email correspondence. Please share with your friends, family's and co-workers. It's time!

Assembly Public Health Committee Chair: Representative Doc Hines
42nd District: Sauk, Marquette, Adams, Columbia
Telephone: (608) 266-7746 Or (888) 534-0042
District Telephone: (608) 586-5999
Email: Rep.Hines@legis.wisconsin.gov

Vice Chair: Representative Leah Vukmir
14th Assembly District: Wauwatosa, Elm Grove, West Allis
Telephone: (608) 266-9180
Email: Rep.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative: Joan Ballweg
41st Assembly District: Washura, Green Lake
Telephone: (608) 266-8077
Email: Rep.Ballweg@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Terry Moulton
68th Assembly District : Eau Claire
Telephone: (608) 266-9172
Email: Rep.Moulton@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Lee Nerison
96th Assembly District: Monroe, Vernon, Richland, Crawford
Telephone: (608) 266-3534 Or (888) 534-0096
District Telephone: (608) 634-4562
Email: Rep.Nerison@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative: Charles Benedict
45th Assembly District : Walworth
Telephone: (608) 266-9967
Email: Rep.Benedict@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative: Sheldon Wasserman
22nd Assembly District : North Shore: Brown Deer, River Hills, Glendale, Milwaukee, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point Bayside
Telephone: (608) 266-7671 Or (888) 534-0022
District Telephone: (414) 964-0663
Email: Rep.Wasserman@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative: Marlin Schneider
72nd Assembly District: Adams, Marquette, Washura
Telephone: (608) 266-0215 Or (888) 529-0072
District Telephone (715) 423-1223
Email: Rep.Schneider@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Spencer Black
77th Assembly District: Dane
Telephone: (608) 266-7521
Email: Rep.Black@legis.wisconsin.gov

Please share your correspondence with me, as well as any responses you receive. (foster98@hotmail.com). Thank you for dedication to this effort.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What's your story?

I read this story this morning and became angry.

A 19-year-old Michigan woman died of an asthma attack at the bar where she worked, and an autopsy concluded that the fatal incident was triggered by secondhand smoke, the Detroit Free Press reported Feb. 9.

The case is believed to be the first showing that acute secondhand-smoke exposure can led to the death of an adult. "This is a very dramatic case," said Ken Rosenman of the Michigan State University College of Medicine, who reported on the incident in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. "The other associations have been with chronic exposure. This is the first time someone dropped dead right there."

The Michigan House of Representatives has approved legislation to ban most indoor smoking, but the legislation has been stalled in the state Senate. "I have a granddaughter who has asthma. If you've ever seen an attack, it's not a pretty thing," said State Sen. Ray Basham, who is sponsoring the legislation. "We're losing 3,000 people a year in Michigan to secondhand smoke."
But Andy Deloney, a spokesperson for the Michigan Restaurant Association, said, "If you want to talk about banning smoking because of this unfortunate incident, then let's ban smoking, period. Don't say we're going to take away your individual choices in bars and restaurants but you can go into a tribal casino and smoke."

This arguement has been about health since day 1. In Wisconsin, SB150 is currently sitting, waiting for 1 person to decide when it can go to the floor to be voted on by the Senate. But that person, Senator Russ Decker (cough), thinks there needs to be compromises made.

I think it's important for everyone to know that there have been compromises made. We are accepting the langauage that came out of committee which allowed a delayed implementation, and some exemptions. But one question I'd like answered is why should we compromise people's lives? As the surgeon General so elloquiently stated "The Debate is over. The Science is clear." I am angry that I have to continue justifying why people's lives are less important that someones wishes to allow smoking. I will not apologize for saving lives. This is what the people of Wisconsin want, as demonstrated with the polls illustrating two-thirds of the state support 100% smoke free bars and resturaunts; and the attendence of a 3 to 1 ratio of those speaking in favor of the bill at the public hearing. The time is now.

Where do you stand? What is your smoke free story? I encourage you to visit: http://www.mysmokefreestory.com/and share it with us.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Body Worlds Exhibit

Be the first to look inside the human body.

The American Lung Association of Wisconsin invites you to view the fascinating workings of the human body at the exciting new BodyWorlds 1 exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
The Lung Association is partnering with BodyWorlds 1 to educate visitors about how the body functions and how to keep it healthy. As one of only four statewide health partners, the Lung Association will offer a series of presentations on a variety of lung health topics from smoking cessation to COPD including:

January 31 – How to Quit and Stay Quit: Tips and resources for quitting smoking.
February 28 – What is COPD? How is it diagnosed, what treatments are available?
March 27 – Teens/Young Adults and Smoking
April 24 – Living with Asthma
May 15 – Breathing Easier: All About Lung Health

The Lung Association is also the exclusive sponsor of the "I Quit" smoking cessation campaign, to begin in late February or early March.

Discount coupons are available by calling the American Lung Association of Wisconsin at 262-703-4200 (local Milwaukee area) or 1-800-LUNG-USA (586-4872) (statewide). For more information, go to: http://www.lungwi.org/newsarticle.cfm?ArticleID=46

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to make a difference....

All of us have a few days in our lives that we will never forget. For me, one of these days occurred when I was just 12 years old. I went with my family to the hospital and say good-bye to my grandpa, who also was my mentor and friend. Grandpa had numerous health problems leading up to this, with emphysema being the most detrimental. My grandpa had smoked most of his life. He was taught to smoke in the Seminary as a way to heal the body of disease when visiting with the sick. What he had learned to heal him, actually ended up killing him. I remember how things like how when he wouldn't wear socks, his feet were a deep purple from the poor circulation. I remember his raspy cough and wheezing. I remember him being on oxygen all the time. I watched my grandpa die in that hospital room that day (Dec 23, 1991).

I'm sure that you are asking yourself why I told you that story. I shared that story because it is one of the reasons that I work so hard in tobacco prevention. Lung cancer, emphysema and COPD are not just diseases that people die from, they are painful deaths for the individual and their families. The worst part is that many of the cases of these diseases are preventable! Most people begin to smoke as teens when they aren't fully aware of the consequences, and then have a very difficult time quitting. There is something that we can do to help. Not allowing people to smoke in workplaces does more than protect us from secondhand smoke. It also helps those who are trying to quit and most importantly, prevents youth from starting to smoke because it changes the social norms of tobacco use. It is a policy that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and every other health organization that you can think of. Did you know that now more than half of the US population lives in a city that has 100% smokefree workplaces (including bars and restaurants)? Did you know that Illinois and Minnesota now have 100% smokefree workplaces and that Michigan has a bill introduced to create 100% smokefree workplaces? Did you know that workplaces in Appleton, Madison, Shorewood and Shorewood Hills are 100% smokefree and still open for business (unlike WI Tavern League predictions)? Did you know that even the Wisconsin Restaurant Association is in support of 100% smoke-free workplaces? Did you know that editorial boards from 58 of the 59 daily papers in the state support Senate Bill 150 (Smoke-free workplace bill)? Did you know that there are smokers and tavern owners that support smokefree workplaces? Did you know that your family and friends that smoke will still love you even if you support smokefree workpaces? Hey, at least mine do.

Policy makers need to be educated on these issues. For more guidance I am offering the following websites as great resources to assist you in determining WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Town Hall Meeting: http://www.itstimewisconsin.org/

Contact a legisltaor (need to figure out who your legislator is?http://waml.legis.state.wi.us/ )

Share your story (Note this site will not be Live until Tuesday, Jan 29th) www.mysmokefreestroy.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The money behind the Road blocks for the Breathe Free WI Act

Very interesting article which looks at the campaign contributions of several candidates who coincidentally happen to be road blocks or involved in diluting strong legislation that would protect all workers. Hmmm...perhaps special interest contributions are affecting their ability to hear what the people are asking for?

Check it out!

American Lung Issues Report Card on Tobacco Control

State Tobacco Control Report for Wisconsin:

Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding
Grade: F
FY 2008 Tobacco Control Program Funding:$16,308,942*
CDC Best Practices Range: $31,158,000 - $82,381,000
*Includes FY2007 funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Smoke Free Air
Grade: F
Overview of Smokefree Air Law(s):
Government Workplaces: Restricts
Private Workplaces: Restricts
Schools: Bans
Childcare Facilities: Bans
Restaurants: Restricts
Bars: No provision
Retail Stores: Restricts
Recreational/Cultural Facilities: Restricts
Penalties: Yes
Enforcement: Yes
Preemption: No
Citation: WI STAT. ANN. §§ 101.123; & 120.12(20)
The Smokefree Air grade only examines state tobacco control law and does not reflect local smokefree ordinances. Wisconsin has made great strides at protecting people from secondhand smoke by passing strong local smokefree ordinances.

Tobacco Tax
Grade: B

Tax rate per pack of 20: $1.77*
*On January 1, 2008, the cigarette tax increased from $0.77 to $1.77 per pack.

Youth Access
Grade: C
Overview of Youth Access Law(s):
Minimum Age Requirement: Yes
Packaging: Prohibits all cigarette sales other than in a sealed package conforming to federal labeling requirements: Yes
Clerk intervention: Prohibits access to or purchase of tobacco products without the intervention of a sales clerk: No provision
Photographic identification: Requires merchants to request photographic identification for customers who appear to be under 21 years of age: No provision
Vending Machines: Restricts
Free Distribution: Restricts
Graduated penalties or fines on retailers: Yes
Establishes random unannounced inspections: Yes
Establishes statewide enforcement agency: Yes
Preemption: Yes

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The votes are in!

Besides the presidential primaries taking place in New Hampshire today, The committee vote on SB 150 (Breathe Fre WI act) took place today. Here's how the committee voted after the amendments (see amendments below):

Carpenter - yes
Coggs - yes
Kreitlow - no
Cowles - yes
Schultz - no

Here are the amendments made:

  • Modify the implementation date of the bill to January 1, 2009. Under the original bill, the effective date was the first day of the 7th month beginning after publication. [passed 3-2]

    Create a delayed implementation date -- or "phase-in" -- for bars and taverns until January 1, 2010. [passed 3-2].

    Create an exemption to the bill for cigar retailers (i.e., cigar shops and cigar bars that earn more than 50% of total revenue from the sale of cigars). [passed 5-0]

    Create an exemption to the bill for cigar manufacturers and distributors. [passed 3-2]

    Allow lodging establishments (e.g., motels and hotels) with three rooms or less to designate one smoking room. Under the original bill, lodging establishments could designate no more than 25% of guest rooms as smoking rooms. Lodging establishments with three or less rooms would not have been able to meet that requirement.

Good or bad?
In my professional opinion (cause I am a pro at analyzing politics...note: that was sarcasm), it is a start, but not ideal. Cigars are a form of smoking, the emit secondhand smoke, and harm others. I don't understand the reasoning behind the exemption for cigar bars and manufacturers. Also a phase in of 2010 is better than 2011...but the sooner this goes into effect the better. Why drag this out? Although, all things considered, SB 150 may not get passed through the house and senate this year?!?! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

So what happens next? It will go to Senate organization committee. They are the committee responsible for getting this on the agenda for the senate . The members on this committee include:
Senator Dave Hanson (rep. Green Bay area)
Senator Fred Risser (Madison area, co-sponsor of the bill)
Senator Scott Fitzgerald (rep. area between Milwaukee and Madison)
Senator Russ Decker (Chair, rep North Central WI)
Senator Joe Liebham (rep. Sheboygan area)

According to our state partner, the committee members might need some convincing to get it on the Senate floor.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Our 2007 WI WINS results!

Winnebago County improved once again! In 2007, our total rate of illegal tobacco sales was 10%. We dropped that from 13.9 % in 2006 and 28% in 2005. In 2007 32 of 302 retailers checked, sold to minors. All 7 law enforcement agencies in Winnebago County are issuing citations with a majority of them accompanying us on scheduled checks.

Way to go Winnebago County! Keep breaking those all-time records. Can we expect less than 10% in 2008? Stay tuned....

Note: An article reflecting these results will be published in tomorrow's Northwestern

Friday, January 4, 2008

What can I do to help?

As I posted earlier, SB 150 is being voted on in committee on Tuesday, Jan 8th at 10 AM. I've been receiving phone calls and emails requesting "what can I do?" Here are two simple things you can do to help out.

1. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Positive media from real people like you will only add to our momentum. Tell your story (why do you think Wisconsin should be smoke free, how have you been affected by secondhand smoke). Make your letter short and to the point. Click on these links to be redirected to submit a letter online:
Oshkosh Northwestern
Appleton Post Crescent
Green Bay Press Gazette

Click Here for tips on writing a good letter to the editor

2. Contact Legislators, especially those who sit on the Committee of Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care, and privacy. A phone call can go a long way, and many legislative offices say phone calls are more meaningful than e-mails. If you're nervous about calling your senator's office, call after hours or over the weekend and leave a voicemail (but don't forget to include your name and address)! If you are unsure of who your legislators are, or need there contact information please visit this website and enter your home address.

Hope this helps. If you have additional questions, please contact me.

Also, if you'd like to be notified when this blog is updated, please enter your email address on the sidebar below tobacco related links.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Quit line usage for 2008 reaches all time high!

Good News, the January 1, 2008 Quit line report:

On the first day of the new year, the quit line received nearly 1200 calls.
About 840 enrolled in some type of intervention.
About 80% enrolled in a multi-call service (670) thus eligible for the NRT products.
About 80% of those enrolled in the multi-call service, elected to receive NRT.

Amazing results. It seems as though the high call rate is still continuing into today.

If you know someone who would like to quit their tobacco use, have them call
1-800- QUIT NOW.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Breaking News!

Happy new year! In Illinois, flipping the calendar to a new month brought a change in their laws. As of Jan 1, 2008 Illinois is smoke-free in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. In summer of 2007, Wisconsin's neighbor to the west, Minnesota enacted a similar law. Thus Wisconsin is left in ashes. However, that could change.

A vote on SB 150 has been scheduled in committee for next Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Rm. 330 SW of the State Capitol. Our state partner, Smoke free Wisconsin, will be updating their blog http://smokefreewisconsin.blogspot.com as they hear more.