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, 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.