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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Youth Stand Up to Big Tobacco on Kick Butts Day: t-shirts gives area students the power to be heard

Three area schools want to stand up, speak out, and seize control against Big Tobacco. Oshkosh West High School, Winneconne Middle School, and Neenah High School are using the power of the T-shirt to promote youth advocacy against Big Tobacco companies as part of Kick Butts Day (March 25), a national day of youth empowerment sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Students created the designs for the shirts after learning all the tactics Big Tobacco uses to get kids to buy their products. They are now using their own words and sales against them by wearing their shirts on Wednesday to educate and engage other youth in the fight.

Oshkosh West’s students chose to focus on how Big Tobacco doesn’t care about how many people they kill: "We really need something for people to die of." –British American Tobacco, 1987. (Yes, a tobacco company actually said this). Tobacco kills about 8000 people in Wisconsin every year, and another 1200 die from diseases related to second-hand smoke.

Winneconne Middle chose to not be a target for Tobacco’s advertising money: "I am not a target of Big Tobacco. They are wasting their $276 million. I won’t fall for their dirty tricks." Tobacco companies spend $276 million on advertising each year in Wisconsin. Only $15 million is allotted to fund the State’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

Neenah High is playing the numbers game with select students wearing shirts with a number like 20% or 400,000. Only about 20% (1 out of 5) high school students in Wisconsin smoke. 400,000 people die annually in the US. 400,000 kids under 18 also start smoking each year. Several students also created a public service announcement for their school. It can be viewed at http://moodle.neenah.k12.wi.us/groups/wnhs/blog

The Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Communities Coalition of Winnebago County teaches kids that most adults and kids don’t smoke and that Big Tobacco is marketing specifically to them. But, that message is much more effective when it comes from their peers.

Additional information on Kick Butts Day can be found at http://kickbuttsday.org/

Monday, March 9, 2009

My SmokeFree Story website allows everyone to be heard

Do you have a story to share about second-hand smoke? How it affects you and your family and friends? Know someone that has suffered the ill effects of someone else's smoke?

Here's the place to tell story. www.mysmokefreestory.com

When we talk about the effects of secondhand smoke in our lives, we stand a better chance of getting secondhand smoke out of our lives—and our air—for good.

There are two easy ways to share your story:

Call--It's your story, tell it in your own voice— call toll-free, 1-866-94STORY (1-866-947-8679). Just follow a few simple instructions to make an audio submission that could be featured on mysmokfreestory.com. It's a free and easy way to share your thoughts and feelings about the air we all have to breathe.

Click--Just click 'share your story' on the website to tell your smoke-free story, even upload a photo. Then hit "preview" to see your submission before you send it. You'll be contacted to let you know when your story is available online.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Coalition Informs Communities about Statewide Smoke-Free Air

Engaged supporters urged to contact legislators

Several community members came out to one of two Town Hall-style meetings on March 4 in Menasha and March 5 in Oshkosh to learn about the status of the smoke-free air law that Governor Doyle introduced with his budget in mid-February. Supporters listened to a variety of speakers as to the reasons why Wisconsin needs to go smoke-free in all workplaces.

At the Menasha meeting, held at the Menasha Public Library, residents heard from Dr. Shiloh Ramos, who practices family medicine and sits on the Winnebago County Board of Health. He explained that workplace smoke-free air policies dramatically reduce heart attacks in smokers and non-smokers. Jeff Phillips, the Environmental Health Supervisor for Winnebago County, refuted the argument that many opponents of a smoke-free air law make. "Delivery people, plumbers, electricians, sanitarians, and health inspectors don’t get to choose which businesses they go into. They often get left out of the discussion."

Eduardo Sanchez, owner of Solea Mexican Grill in Menasha didn’t open his first restaurant smoke-free, but after listening to the concerns of his employees, polling his customers and receiving a phone call from one of his best customers that had asthma, he decided to go smoke-free. His second location in Neenah opened smoke-free and business couldn’t be better. Finally, Maureen Busalacchi, from SmokeFree WI, gave an update on where the legislation for smoke-free air sits and recommended that supporters contact their legislators with their opinions. Representative Dean Kaufert, answered questions from the audience.

The following evening at the Oshkosh Public Library, community members listened to Dr. Brian Harrison from Affinity Occupational Health explain that any amount of second-hand smoke increase one’s risk for a heart attack which in the end costs everyone in lives and dollars lost. UWO Nursing student Erin Foldstad told her story about working as a waitress in a smoke-filled environment as she tries to put herself through college, noting that the best paying jobs for students are usually in bars and restaurants.

Representative Gordon Hintz, who has been a champion in the Legislature for Tobacco Prevention and Control, gave several reasons why Wisconsin should go smoke-free. "One of the best ways that the State can reduce health care costs, without spending a lot of taxpayers’ money, is to implement a statewide smoke-fee air law." The final speaker of the night, Liz Sanger, from SmokeFree WI, invited the audience to contact their legislator, write a letter to the editor, and visit www.mysmokefreestory.com or the the Holding our Breath campaign website, http://holdingourbreathwi.com to get their voices heard.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Former Winston Man Dies of Cancer

Alan Landars, former Winson model and now anti-tobacco company adovcate passed away on February 27 from complications of his throat cancer.

He spoke out against tobacco marketing to children and worked to hold the tobacco industry accountable and liable for causing addiction and disease in smokers. He supported regulating tobacco products and nicotine as a drug and was the spokesman for the World Health Organization. Most people in the world of Tobacco Control recognize his testimony against Big Tobacco when he quoted an executive: "We don't smoke it. We just sell it. We reserve that for the young, the poor, the black, and the stupid."

He appeared in the majority of the print ads for the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s as the “Winston Man”. He also appeared on billboards and in magazine advertisments holding a Winston cigarette urging others, young and old, to smoke. Alan was expected to portray smoking as stylish, pleasurable, and attractive and was required to smoke on the set, constant smoking was required to achieve the correct appearance of the cigarette, ash and butt length.

Despite the fact that he worked closely with cigarette company personnel during the shooting, at no time was he ever told that cigarettes could be dangerous to his health.

In 1987, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Since then he faced one medical challenge after another, and, since his second diagnosis in 1993, had survived with only two lobes of his lungs. His lungs looked good, until in late 2008 he was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer.

To learn more about this tobacco-control advocate, visit his website: http://winstonman.com/

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Binge Drinking on College Campuses

Thanks to partner Steve Herman, Winnebago County Sheriff Deparment, for his comittment to our cause. He shared this article. Click on link to view in its entirety.

Summary: 60 Minutes, CBS's weekly newsmagazine (link was posted in an earlier TFDFC blog), aired a story on underage drinking focused on the significant problem of binge drinking on college campuses but did not include peer-reviewed scientific data showing lives are being saved.


Teen overdoses in Whitefish Bay, impacts community

Thanks to Officer Jason Weber, Town of Menasha PD, for sharing this news article!

Whitefish Bay freshman found dead was to enter rehab program

More than 300 people gather at St. Monica Catholic Church in Whitefish Bay on Monday night to mourn for Madison Kiefer. The 15-year-old Whitefish Bay girl was found dead over the weekend. “She was always smiling,” said one friend.
Girl had abused drugs for 2 years, dad says

Three friends talk about their love for Madison Kiefer during the St. Monica service on Monday.

Whitefish Bay - The father of a 15-year-old girl who was found dead in a friend's home said she had abused drugs for two years and was scheduled to enter drug rehabilitation Tuesday, according to a Milwaukee County medical examiner's report released late Monday.
Whitefish Bay police said they have arrested two men and one woman in connection with the death of Madison Kiefer, who "may have consumed unknown quantities of drugs."
What types of drugs may have been involved is not yet known.
Maddie Kiefer's death stunned her North Shore suburb, although friends said they had begun fearing for her since she began her freshman year at Whitefish Bay High School in the fall. Some 300 people turned out at a prayer service for her Monday night.
Kiefer "was very energetic when she was younger, she always had a smile on her face," said Kevin Tighe, 17, in an interview during the day. But over the past several months she was more morose and spent time with a new group of friends, he said.
"To a T, the story of just going down the wrong path," Tighe said.
Kiefer was found unresponsive about 9:45 a.m. Sunday in a home in the 5100 block of N. Diversey Blvd. in Whitefish Bay that is several blocks from her home, according to the medical examiner's report.
One of Kiefer's friends lives in the home, and the friend's mother found her, the report says.
Kiefer's father, Michael Kiefer, told a medical examiner's investigator that his daughter had gone on a binge and was stoned Wednesday.
Michael Kiefer told the investigator that his daughter was trying to party before entering treatment, which was to begin Tuesday, according to the report.
Maddie Kiefer sneaked out of her family's home Saturday night, and her family discovered her missing Sunday morning, the report says. Michael Kiefer began calling his daughter's friends and then got a call from one of them, who said Maddie was at her home and "not looking well."
Michael Kiefer told the investigator that when he and his girlfriend arrived at the friend's home, the North Shore Fire Department was trying to revive his daughter.
Michael Kiefer could not be reached for comment but said through Father Jerry Herda that he and Maddie's younger brother and two older sisters are heartbroken.
Herda is pastor of St. Monica Parish in Whitefish Bay, which held an evening prayer service Monday for Kiefer.
Maddie Kiefer's mother, Catherine Kiefer, died several years ago from cancer.
Whitefish Bay police said in a statement that Maddie Kiefer had been at one Whitefish Bay residence where she may have consumed drugs before two men dropped her off at the Diversey Blvd. home. No one answered the door there Monday afternoon.
Maddie Kiefer was found with what appeared to be self-inflicted cuts to her arms and wrists, according to the medical examiner's report. She had a history of problems with alcohol, marijuana and pills, and had been prescribed medications by a psychiatrist, her doctor told an investigator.
Teen friends of Maddie Kiefer's told investigators that Kiefer and a friend may have gone to a drug dealer's home Saturday night. But the report also said that details in the teens' stories changed as they spoke to police.
At the memorial service Monday night, students hugged each other and cried, and many wrote notes to the families of Kiefer and Laura Miller, a Nicolet High School freshman who recently died of cancer.
Kiefer's friends remembered her as an upbeat girl with an infectious smile who looked out for her younger brother, Bryce.
"She was always smiling," said Laura Troshynski, 15, who attended grade school with Kiefer.
"She never got mad at you. She could make anything funny."
But Natalie Sivilotti, 15, and other friends said they became concerned for Kiefer in recent years.
"Maddie attracted so many people with her personality, good and bad," Sivilotti said
One of Kiefer's sisters, Chloe, is a freshman attending the University of Louisville on a soccer scholarship. She was a standout goalie for the soccer team at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee.
Bill Henkle, the principal at Whitefish Bay High School, said Maddie Kiefer was the first student at the school to die since Adam Lemel, who had a heart condition, collapsed while playing basketball in a junior varsity game in Grafton in 1999.
"Obviously, there are many kids who are hurting and are trying to cope with the loss," Henkle said.
Two minors died of drug overdoses in Milwaukee County in 2007 and three in 2008, according to medical examiner's records.
No minors had died from drug overdoses in the county in 2009 as of Feb. 8, the records show.
Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Meets to Discuss Status of Statewide Smoke-Free Air

In an effort to educate the community about the dangers of second-hand smoke and the benefits of a statewide smoke-free air law, the Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Communities Coalition of Winnebago County will hold 2 separate Town Hall meetings on:

Wednesday, March 4 at 5:30pm
Menasha Public Library,
440 First Street
Thursday, March 5 at 5:30pm
Oshkosh Public Library,
106 Washington

The information presented at the Town Hall meeting will explain why a statewide smoke-free law is the only option to protect everyone from the dangers of second-hand smoke, dispel some of the myths about enacting a smoke-free law, and educate community members on ways to help Wisconsin become a smoke-free state.
For more information, please contact Coalition Co-Coordinator, Emily Dieringer at 920-232-3021.