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, February 23, 2009

Lower the Legal Drinking Age from 21 to 18?

Last night, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a story about the debate about lowering the legal drinking age. One of the main reasons, supporters say, is to reduce the number of non-traffic deaths due to alcohol poisoning/injury. They belive underage drinkers are less likely to call for help because they don't want to get in trouble for drinking underage. I thought it was a really good news story and covered both sides equally. If you've got 15 minutes, click on the link below and watch the video from February 22.



Friday, February 20, 2009

Girls and Young Women Newest Targets of Big Tobacco

excerpts from a report released Feb 18, 2009 from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The tobacco industry has a long history of developing cigarette brands and marketing campaigns that target women and girls, with devastating consequences for women's health.

In the last two years, the industry has launched its most aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at women and girls in over a decade. These campaigns are again putting the health of women and girls at risk and underscore the need for Congress to pass legislation granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products.

The nation's two largest tobacco companies-Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds-have launched new marketing campaigns that depict cigarette smoking as feminine and fashionable, rather than the harmful and deadly addiction it really is:

In October 2008, Philip Morris USA announced a makeover of its Virginia Slims brand into "purse packs"-- small, rectangular cigarette packs that contain "superslim" cigarettes. Available in mauve and teal and half the size of regular cigarette packs, the sleek "purse packs" resemble packages of cosmetics and fit easily in small purses. They come in "Superslims Lights" and "Superslims Ultra Lights" versions, continuing the tobacco industry's history of associating smoking with weight control and of appealing to women's health concerns with misleading claims such as "light" and "low-tar." http://tobaccofreekids.org/slideshow/deadlyinpink_2009_01/slideshow_full.html

In January 2007, R.J. Reynolds launched a new version of its Camel cigarettes, called Camel No. 9, packaged in shiny black boxes with hot pink and teal borders. The name evoked famous Chanel perfumes, and magazine advertising featured flowery imagery and vintage fashion. The ads carried slogans including "Light and luscious" and "Now available in stiletto," the latter for a thin version of the cigarette pitched to "the most fashion forward woman." Ads ran in magazines popular with women and girls, including: Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle. Promotional giveaways included flavored lip balm, cell phone jewelry, tiny purses and wristbands, all in hot pink.

Previous marketing campaigns have had a devastating impact on women's health. The nation's latest cancer statistics, released in December 2008, showed that while lung cancer death rates are decreasing for men, and overall cancer death rates are decreasing for both men and women, lung cancer death rates have yet to decline for women.

Watch the video: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/microsites/deadlyinpink/?autologin=true

To read the entire report, visit the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids website (link located under "tobacco links").

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doyle to Call for 75cent Hike in Cigarette Tax

By Steven Walters And Patrick Marley
Posted on www.jsonline.com

Feb. 17, 2009 5:48 a.m. Madison – Gov. Jim Doyle will call for a 75-cent increase in the state tax on a pack of cigarettes in the budget he will announce at 7 p.m. today – a change that would raise the state tax on smokers to $2.52 per pack, three sources confirmed.
If approved by the Legislature, the increase would mean that the state tax on a pack of cigarettes would have tripled in the six years that the two-term Democratic governor has been in office – from 77-cents to $2.52. The $1 per pack increase – from 77-cents to $1.77 – approved two years ago cost smokers about $110 million more a year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
A 75-cent increase in the state tax would follow a 62-cent increase per pack in the federal tax, which was raised to pay for health-care programs for children.
The new 75-cent increase in Wisconsin's tax would be part of an attempt to raise money to pay for health care and smoking cessation programs and make the price of smoking so high it forces smokers to quit and stops children and teens from starting to smoke.
Tonight, Doyle will also again call for a ban on smoking in workplaces statewide, including restaurants and taverns. The governor's push for a similar smoking ban two years ago never got a vote in either the Assembly or Senate, but some form of it is expected to pass the Legislature this session.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Virginia Lawmakers Approve Statewide Smoking Ban

The following summary was posted on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website. If VIRGINIA can do it, I'd sure hope Wisconsin could do it (and with less exemptions)!

The Virginia House of Delegates on Monday approved sweeping legislation that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants in the state, the Washington Post reports. Currently, individual bars and restaurants in Virginia are permitted to enforce their own smoking restrictions. However, the new bill, which was revised several times before being approved, bans smoking in all restaurants and bars. Exceptions to the bill allow for smoking in outdoor patio areas, at restaurants during private functions that use the entire facility, and at clubs and bars when underage patrons are not admitted. In addition, the law would permit smoking in rooms that are separated by doors, regardless of whether the room has a separate ventilation system. Violations for noncompliance would result in a $25 fine, a figure that has drawn criticism from the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and other smoke-free policy proponents for being too lenient. If approved by the state Senate as expected, Virginia would become the first state in the south to institute a full smoking ban (Kumar, Washington Post, 2/10/09).

Cigarette Brand Preference Among Middle and High School Students Who are Established Smokers--United States, 2004 and 2006

The following summary appeared in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report MMWR News Synopsis for February 12, 2009

Research suggests that exposure to tobacco advertising and promotional activities play a role in influencing youth to start smoking. Knowing the cigarette brand preferences of student smokers, and the advertising and marketing used to promote these brands, provides vital information that can be incorporated into public health efforts to reduce youth smoking.

The three most heavily advertised brands--Marlboro, Newport, and Camel--continue to be the preferred brand of cigarettes smoked by middle and high school student smokers. According to this new study, 78 percent of middle school students and 87 percent of high school students prefer to smoke these three brands. The report found a considerable difference in brand preference among students by gender and ethnicity.

Marlboro is the preferred brand for middle and high school females (50 percent and 54 percent, respectively) compared to males (38 percent and 50 percent, respectively). The use of Camel was higher for middle school males (12 percent) than middle school females (4 percent). The report also found that black middle and high school students (60 percent and 79 percent, respectively) preferred Newport, a menthol cigarette that is strategically marketed to black communities.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cutting down the haze

It's time. The arguments against a comprehensive statewide smoking ban are hollow. Public health demands enactment.

an Editorial from www.jsonline.com Posted: Feb. 11, 2009

The state Legislature has shamefully dithered, and 37 Wisconsin communities now have some variation of a smoking ban. So, of course, bars and restaurants there have all boarded up their windows and gone bust.

Oh, right. They haven't.

In fact, some communities that were going to siphon off all the smokers' business after Madison went smoke free in 2005 have opted to copy their neighbor instead. That would be Monona, Middleton and Fitchburg.

This would seem to indicate that, far from reaping rewards from Madison's ban, these communities and their businesses saw some benefit from going smokeless.

State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison), among others, notes the trend as he readies another smoking ban bill. Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee), chairman of the health and health care committee, will introduce the Assembly version. They will introduce their bill at the end of the month.

Both houses should approve a comprehensive statewide ban. The governor has said he favors one.

One obstacle last year was Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston), who didn't let the bill come to the floor. The Senate's Democratic caucus should make it clear to their leader that being the obstacle again will be unacceptable.

It's time.

No doubt, the same resistance will surface from the tavern industry. Don't be distracted. This is not about the right of business owners to run their businesses as they please. It's about the right of employees to enjoy a safe work environment - not having to choose between a livelihood and health. And we should no more allow business owners to inflict smoke on employees and patrons than we would allow them to expose folks to asbestos or other harmful substances.

The bill, Risser and Richards say, will not allow exemptions and will impose a short transition period. This is as it should be.

The goal here should be public health, and there's scant room for compromise there.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Illegal to serve your youth, yep ESPECIALLY your own child!

This message was received by Julia Sherman, WI Clearinghouse

Colleagues: I have been receiving numerous inquiries abut SB 30 and the changes that would occur if enacted.

In brief, SB 30 would allow make it illegal to serve alcohol to anyone younger than age 18 even if with a parent. Practically speaking, it establishes age 18 as the age at which parents could start purchasing alcohol for children on bars and taverns.

I realize many underage drinking prevention advocates are conflicted by this proposal. For some, this proposal eliminates the insanity of a parent legally purchasing alcohol for very young children. While for others it raises concerns about creating a toehold in Wisconsin for those who wish to roll back the 21 minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) such as the Amethyst Initiative.

I spoke to Justin Sargent, Senator Robson’s aide working on this bill, last week. He was unaware of the Amethyst Initiative, a national effort to reopen the minimum legal drinking age debate, and said that it was Senator Robson’s hope this bill would help change the drinking culture of Wisconsin.

State sanctioning of alcohol use at age 18 alcohol will impact the attitudes of older teens. Legal access for 18 year old teens has the potential to provide more opportunities for younger teens to obtain alcohol, both troubling possibilities.

The evidence in support of an age 21 MLDA is overwhelming:

States that lowered the minimum legal drinking age [between 1970 and 1976] experienced a 15% to 20% increase in alcohol related teen car crashes.[i]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the 21 minimum legal drinking age saves 1,000 lives each year on the highways. [ii]

When the MLDA is 21 underage youth drink less and continue to drink less into their early 20’s.[iii]

Medical research completed after the enactment of the age 21 MLDA support its importance. Medical research shows that brain development continues into the early 20’s. In addition, there is some question whether damage resulting from early alcohol use is reversible, testing of detoxified and comparable abstaining teens showed a significant reduction in the cognitive and analytical ability.[iv]

This bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate Committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, chair
[i] 21 Turns 21, Driven, MADD 2004.
[ii] 21 Turns 21, Driven, MADD 2004.
[iii] O’Malley, PM , Wagenaar, A, Effects of minimum drinking age laws on alcohol use, related behaviors and traffic crash involvement among American youth: 1976-1987. Journal Studies of Alcohol, 1991.
4. National Academies of Science, Institute of Medicine, Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. Richard J. Bonnie and Ellen O’Connell, editors. Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Minnesota's smoking ban remains popular

This info was broadcast on the Wisconsin Radio Network on Tuesday Feb 3. We are getting closer and closer to a smoke-free State!--emily

By Bob Hague
As Wisconsin lawmakers again prepare to grapple with the contentious issue of a statewide smoking ban, Minnesota's ban has been in place for nearly a year and a half.
Mike McGuire with the Minnesota chapter of the American Cancer Society says that state's Freedom to Breathe Act has been in place since October of 2007, and about 76% of state residents liked the law when it went into effect. Not that there hasn't been opposition. "We've seen a couple of amendments introduced to try to weaken the law," says McGuire. "Those amendments haven't really gone anywhere. There is a small but committed band of opponents who continue to advocate the repeal of the law."
McGuire says much of the opposition to a statewide ban in Wisconsin has a familiar ring. "Whether it's a local level ordinance or a statewide ordinance, there's always the prediction that the sky is going to fall," he says.
McGuire's advice to ban proponents in Wisconsin is to keep the focus on the health of workers who are being subjected to second hand smoke. Governor Jim Doyle once again called for a statewide ban, in his state of the state address.

"U.S. Senate Acts to Protect Kids, Save Lives by Increasing Federal Tobacco Taxes"

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate today delivered a tremendous victory for children’s health by voting to increase federal tobacco taxes, including a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax, to fund reauthorization and expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This legislation will create a healthier future for millions of children both by reducing tobacco use – the number one cause of preventable death in America – and by expanding health care coverage for kids. We look forward to final enactment of this legislation by Congress and its signature into law by President Obama.

Increasing tobacco taxes is a proven strategy to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among children. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. A 61-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax will prevent nearly two million kids from starting to smoke, help more than one million adult smokers quit, prevent nearly 900,000 smoking-caused deaths and produce $44 billion in long-term health care savings by reducing tobacco-caused health care costs.

To maximize the health benefits from the tobacco tax increase, we urge the Congress to adopt the Senate bill’s approach to taxing so-called "little cigars," which are the same size as cigarettes but have a brown wrapper. The Senate bill would immediately increase the tax on little cigars to $1 per pack, the same rate as for cigarettes, while the House bill would phase in the increase over six years. Allowing a disparity in tax rates would create an incentive for some cigarettes to continue to evade taxes by masquerading as little cigars and make these products more appealing to kids because of the lower prices.

Higher tobacco taxes are a win-win-win solution for the country – a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to help fund the SCHIP program and reduce tobacco-caused health care costs, and a political win that is popular with voters. Polling conducted for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found that more than two-thirds of all voters support a significant increase in the federal cigarette tax to provide health care coverage to uninsured children. This support is evident among virtually every political and demographic subgroup of voters across the country, with large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, men and women, and urban and rural voters supporting the cigarette tax to fund children’s health care.

Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people in the United States and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 20 percent of high school students smoke and more than 1,000 kids become new regular smokers every day.

We urge Congress to finalize this important legislation without delay. It will expand health care coverage for America’s children while helping to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

More information:

Fact sheet: Benefits from a 61-cent federal cigarette tax increase: www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0314.pdf

Other fact sheets on federal tobacco taxes:

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Legislation to be Introduced to Combat Drunk Driving

Madison, WI – Recognizing that solving the problem of drunk driving in Wisconsin is going to take a multifaceted, commonsense legislative approach, Senators Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa), Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee), and John Lehman (D-Racine) today announced a comprehensive proposal that targets drunk drivers on numerous fronts in order to protect Wisconsin citizens.

"Drinking and driving is a crime that causes damage and destroys lives, and it’s a problem that won’t go away without an aggressive legislative intervention," said Sullivan.

"For the sake of your safety, we must pass tougher sanctions for repeat drunk drivers, expand treatment options, and increase the use of ignition interlock devices before any more lives are lost." Under the proposal, thousands of repeat offenders would be in jail or prison instead of behind the wheel.

The legislation promotes prevention and includes statewide expansion of the successful Winnebago County "Safe Streets" pilot program, which directs some offenders into alcohol treatment programs. The proposal also expands the use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID), one of the tools that government has to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel."Far too many repeat drunk drivers are getting behind the wheel and endangering Wisconsin lives. This bill targets these repeat drunk drivers by making most third offenses and all fourth offenses felonies and by improving the IID program in our state," said Plale.

"It also gives our justice system new and improved tools to protect Wisconsin families." "There is broad agreement on the importance of revisiting our laws on drinking and driving. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to meet our shared goal of making Wisconsin roadways safer and provides a good means to enact needed changes," said Lehman.

The proposed legislation would:
  • Make the third OWI offense within five years a felony
  • Make all fourth OWI offenses a felony
  • Close the 1st offense 08 fine loophole
  • Expand Winnebago County’s successful "Safe Street" pilot program
  • Require the Judicial Council to develop statewide sentencing guidelines for OWI offenses
  • Mandate Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) or immobilization if second OWI offense is .16 or above and for all third offenses
  • Prohibit IID contractors from cancelling an IID contract without an order from the court and provides penalties

Last session, Senator Sullivan successfully passed legislation that provided incremental penalties for drunk drivers. This package further strengthens the tools and options available to Wisconsin’s law enforcement and court systems.