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, December 22, 2010

Dissolvables Will be Moving to New Test Markets

Shortly after R.J. Reynolds decides to end test marketing of Camel Orbs, Sticks, and Strips in three US cities, the tobacco company decides to continue test marketing in other yet-to-be-released areas.

Company executives said that the products have positive feedback from consumers and the will be looking for additional feedback before making a final decision.

I'm thinking they should take the advice from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and decide to permantly pull the products, but how else will RJR find replacement tobacco-users for those that die from using their products!?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

R.J. Reynolds Pulls Back on the Dissolvables

Due in part to outrage from public officials, RJ Reynolds is removing its dissolvable product line from its current test markets (Columbus, OH/Indianapolis/Portland). Customers were sent a letter from RJ Reynolds explaining the action, but then given a coupon to try another smokeless product at a discounted price.
Products include, Camel sticks, strips and orbs which drew controversy due to packaging and flavors used. RJ Reynolds stated these products needed "further refinement" however did not state when or if the products would be re issued.
Removing the products can be seen as positive step by prevention advocates.
Full article can be read here:


Monday, November 29, 2010

Smoking Gripes Decrease

Numbers are out about smoking complaints across the state. As expected, July had the most complaints, then we've seen a steady decline. These are complaints coming in through the toll free number or website.
At a more personal level, our 5 counties have seen a total of 24 complaints. That's not on 24 businesses, rather this is our total, including businesses that might have received multiple complaints.
The entire article from Milwaukee News Buzz can be read by clicking on the link below.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tobacco Prevention Funding is at a Shameful Level in WI

A recent press release from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids summarizes that Wisconsin currently spends $6.9 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 10.7 percent of the $64.3 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Wisconsin include:

· Wisconsin this year will collect $840 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 0.8 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.
· The tobacco companies spend $274.0 million a year to market their products in Wisconsin. This is 40 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

Along with the tobacco settlement money (that was mostly used to fill up a hole in Gov. McCallum's budget), WI also collects nearly $700 million a year in cigarette taxes. The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program receives the equavalent of (none of the cigarette tax is earmarked for prevention) less than 1% of that tax.

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is grossly underfunded. WI’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless the state legislature decides to invest in programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

Govenor-elect Walker created a website (http://www.transition.wi.gov/) to "serve as a resource to Wisconsinites in the days leading up to the Inauguration on January 3rd." The website features a page "Citizen Suggestions" where Wisconsinites can provide suggestions for how "we can cut waste and make government run more efficiently for taxpayers."

Prevention programs, like the Tobacco Prevention & Control Program, can help reduce the over $2 billion spent in WI on health-care costs attributed to tobacco-related diseases.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Whirlwind offers Continued Hope for Tobacco Prevention and Control

Despite large shifts in power in WI for this 2010 mid-term election, public health issues are still seeing backing by the public in other areas of the country. South Dakota voted to become the next smoke-free state! You can read the full press release on the Campaing for Tobacco-Free Kids' website: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/Script/DisplayPressRelease.php3?Display=1237

Congratulations South Dakota!!!

The top priorities on voters minds (as seen by exit polls) are the Economy and Health Care. While the future of public health in WI looks like it might be taking some turns, the public is still concerned about its health. Hopefully this new State Legislature keeps moving in the right direction to improve the health of Wisconsinites to help make us the healthiest state in one generation.

To see the full list of winners from yesterday's election visit: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Patent Slap on E-Cigarettes

A law firm claims to have a patent covering all e-cigarettes products and advised the electronic cigarette industry that it plans on preventing the sale of such products which are not licensed.
Although the communication referred specifically to enforcement or the patent claims only against e-cigs vendors and importers throughout the European Industry and Norway, its actions could ultimalely spread to other countries, including the U.S.
In the USA, some attorney generals have filed law suits, some have already won, against the sale of e-cigs until FDA approval has been obtained.
This was reported by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
To read the full article, click below.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Smokers Need Extra Help Quitting

In a recent (well, from 6 weeks ago) article published in the LA Times, researches at Oregon Health Science University found out that there are two types of "quitters" when it comes to smoking: those that quit "cold turkey" and those that need more help along the way.

Their data supported that continued cessation efforts were effective even if the quitter's initial attempts to quit were unsuccessful. Read the story and get the link to full report here: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/02/news/la-heb-smoking-cessation-20100902

This research only adds to the importance and need for fully funded tobacco prevention and contol programs that offer treatment services, like the WI Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) offers to people who want to quit their nicotine addiction. The Quit Line's funding was severely cut in 2008 and cannot offer the follow up services that are so important for so many people that want to quit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Following in the footsteps of Michigan

The state of Michigan released a quarterly Smoke Free Compliance Survey. Michigan went smoke free on May 1st of this year. Although their laws varies from Wisconsin, the basis remains the same. Since May 1st, there have been 583 complaints with 158 citations issued. There were also 5 cease orders issued, until an establishment complied with the law.
Of non-food establishments, 173 complaints were received and 11 citations were issued.

To read the full release, click below


Monday, October 4, 2010

We're #1 (on the list)

Thomas Frieden, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released the six areas of priorities for the CDC. These winnable battles, as he calls them, will keep the nation healthy. His six choices SMOKING, AIDS, OBESITY/NUTRITION, TEEN PREGNANCY, AUTO INJURIES, and HEALTH CARE INFECTIONS.

Some are upset because their "causes" were not mentioned, others are excited because their "cause" will get publicity.

To read the article click:


Federal Tobacco Prevention/Control Efforts WILL Make a Difference

As the 111th US Congress session drew to a close, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reflected on the historic steps it took to create an America free from the burden of tobacco. While there is still a lot of work to be done in every state in the union, collectively these steps will dramatically reduce the number of youth who start using tobacco and help thousands of adults quit. re:TH!NK applauds their efforts and hopes they continue into the 112th session.

The five major accomplishments that Congress took in 2010 include:

To read the full CTFK press release, click here: http://bit.ly/dlvdaJ

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smoking on the Letterman show??

You got to see this!!!!!
Recently Katherine Heigl was a guest on David Letterman's Late Show. She discussed her issues with trying to quite smoking. She went through a list of items that did not work for her, then she pulls something out from between the cushions and conducts an "advertisement" for the product.
When asked about this product lets remember a few points
1) The FDA has not tested nor approved this product as a successful cessation tool
2) Cancer causing agents were discovered in these products by the FDA
3) Nicotine has been proven to be one of the most additive drugs, which is the main ingredient in this product
4) Until proper testing can be conducted by the FDA, these products should not be recommended or sold


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meetings with Candidates

Cheryl Laabs and I met with two candidates, Michelle Litjens, a Republican for the 56th and Gordon Hintz, a Democrat for the 54th last Friday. Both meetings were productive and interesting full of great conversation.

Michelle was open about what we had to say regarding public health and tobacco prevention. She had never heard of some of the newer tobacco products like snus and orbs and this alarmed her since she is the mother of a 12- and 14-year-old. We also helped her find resources for an issue she's been having with one of her tenants.

Gordon talked with us at the Seniors Center, along with 4 other Oshkosh residents. They all listened to why tobacco prevention funding was important to our youth. They had several questions about youth access and changing the culture to make tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use, something that is NOT okay.

Both candidates told us that they believe funding prevention is important, as long as the funding is being used appropriately. Good thing Wisconsin's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program has one of the best track records of success in the state, including a 46% decrease in youth smoking and 21% decrease in adult smoking since the program began in 2000.

To see more of those stats click on this link: http://www.tobwis.org/uploads/media/CandEd2010_combined.pdf


Monday, September 27, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lance Armstrong Visits Madison

Below is a link to the video of Lance Armstrong speaking in Madison about his support for Wisconsin's smoke-free law. This newest version cuts together media from different sources, including a picture of Lance's rally leading up to the law's passage.

You can get to the video by clicking this link.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New smokeless tobacco products ignite debate

an article posted by the Free Press on Aug 22, 2010. BY ROBIN ERBFREE PRESS MEDICAL WRITER

As states make it tougher to light up in public, tobacco manufacturers are rolling out new smokeless tobacco lines -- some flavored, some spitless, prompting worries from public health officials about potentially unknown risks of these new products and their appeal to underage users.

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/bidaC3

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enforcement of Wisconsin smoking ban hazy

Interesting article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about enforcement of the smoke-free air law. Some good. Some bad. Some confusion.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

State ranks high in childhood exposure to secondhand smoke

By Tia Ghose of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: July 29, 2010 (14) Comments

Wisconsin ranks fifth nationally in childhood exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a study published in the July Pediatrics.

More than one in 10 children in the state regularly breathed in secondhand smoke, compared with about one in 100 in Utah. In the households of smokers, 39% of children regularly breathe in secondhand smoke. Only West Virginia outranks Wisconsin on that measure. The study surveyed 2,000 households across the state in 2007.

Secondhand smoke is tied to heart disease, asthma and premature birth, said Nathan Jones, a University of Wisconsin-Madison statistician who analyzed the state data.

But unlike other states with heavy secondhand smoke exposure, Wisconsin doesn't have sky-high rates of adult smoking, he said.

"We rank right in the middle of the 50 states," he said.

The frigid Wisconsin winters and a desire to stay inside to smoke can't explain the numbers, he said.

"When we look at our neighbors - North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota - they're all quite a bit lower," Jones said. "Cold weather doesn't seem to be the explanatory factor."

Instead, cultural or demographic factors may make Wisconsinites more comfortable lighting up in the house, he said.

Other states' "take it outside" campaigns haven't cut children's secondhand smoke exposure, though quit-smoking campaigns and public bans have been shown to work, he said.

That makes the state's recent cuts to smoking-cessation programs especially troubling, said Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin. For instance, pregnant women who called the (800) QUIT-NOW hotline used to automatically get 10 phone calls from a counselor, and now only get one, she said.

"The best thing is to really support those parents in quitting," she said. "It is a difficult process."


10.5% of Wisconsin children are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke
139,000 Wisconsin children are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke
19.5% of Wisconsin adults smoke

Friday, July 23, 2010

Two gubernatorial candidates say they would repeal the statewide smoking ban. Let's hope for an unkept promise if either is elected.

An editorial from the Journal-Sentinel from July 22. Thought it had a lot of "common sense" in it.

alf-baked ideas get floated in election years all the time. The idea topping this year's list (it's still early) is repeal of the state's smoking ban. Both Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former congressman Mark Neumann, vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, say they'd sign a bill to do just that if either becomes governor.

What part of carcinogen, safe workplace or public health don't the candidates understand?
There is a perceived need in partisan campaigns to appeal to narrow bases of voters in primary elections - those most likely to be energized enough to turn out - but something to remember: Words hatched to attract these voters can come back to haunt in a general election. Most adults don't smoke these days and resent other people making them de facto smokers because of secondhand smoke.

Neumann said repealing the ban would not be a priority and is an issue that should be decided locally. Walker said the government shouldn't have been involved in the first place.
But a patchwork of smoking bans throughout the state should not be something to which anyone should aspire a return. A statewide ban took care of that.

And to the extent that feelings about Big Brother government and the primacy of free-market forces in deciding such issues animate the candidates, we'd simply argue that no worker should have to trade his or her health for a paycheck. We would no more wish a return to smoke-filled public places than we would a return to asbestos-filled workplaces. It is a workplace safety issue. And it is a public health issue.

After the state smoking ban went into effect on July 5, Walker said it was too early to seek exemptions to it. After Neumann said he'd repeal the law, Walker said he, too, would repeal it. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the likely Democratic nominee, supports the ban.

So, on the heels of the state instituting a measure that will likely decrease the number of heart attacks and mitigate other ills associated with secondhand smoke in Wisconsin, two candidates think the ban is a bad idea. That, in itself, is a bad idea.

In 2007, Walker banned smoking in or within 30 feet of any county building. His reasoning is still eminently reasonable today. He said nonsmokers shouldn't have to breathe secondhand smoke when they pass huddled smokers outside county buildings' doorways. Now, imagine all that smoke confined by walls and being breathed indoors.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Media BLITZ for July 5!!!

Check out all the local media coverage from July 5! Stories noted with a * are the ones that focused on the Celebration Event at Sidelines in Neenah.

Fox 11 and NBC 26 had Kewaunee and Neenah event info on their morning news shows.

WNAM advertised the Neenah event on July 2 during their morning news.

http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/indoor-smoking-ban-begins-in-wisconsin (am)

http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/smoking-ban-hits-wisconsin (pm)

http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20100705/OSH0101/7050386/Indoor-smoking-ban-starts-today (AP)


http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=12750907 Video: "Hotline, Website for Reporting No Smoking" (july 3)

http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=12757282 Video: "Restaurants Adjust to Smoking Ban" (5pm?)

http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=12757284 Video: "Wisconsin Goes Smoke-Free" (4pm)


*http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/97819074.html (Sidelines celebration 5pm/6pm/10pm)

http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/97822064.html (6pm)

http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/97820019.html (5 or 6pm/10pm)

http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/97823689.html (Dan's son)



*http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20100706/APC0101/7060511/Customers-breathe-easy-as-smoking-ban-begins (from Sidelines event)


*http://www.whby.com/news/whby/news/3ef062f1e261/ (quoted at Sidelines event)



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gov. Doyle Visits Green Bay to Promote Smoke-Free Air Law

In case you missed Governor Doyle's visit to Green Bay, you can catch a glimpse of the event on several news stories generated by the event:

http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=12729628 click "featured videos" (2)

Some cover the event better than others and some don't have the full story that aired on the 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock news last night.

Reminder that there are TWO events being hosted by re:TH!NK, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network on Monday, July 5.

One will be held at Sidelines Sports Pub & Grill in Neenah from 4:30-6:30pm. For more details or to RSVP visit http://bit.ly/July5Sidelines or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113660055347226&index=1

The other will be held at Kunkel's Korner Restaurant in Kewaunee, 301 Ellis Street all day long!

For a map to either event or any other statewide event, visit http://www.wibettersmokefree.com/ and click "join the July 5 celebration"

Door prizes, free beverages and/or appetizers will also be served!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Supreme Court Upholds Tobacco Cover-Up, Rejects Paying Billions in Damages

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has rejected appeals by the Obama administration and the nation's largest tobacco companies to get involved in a legal fight about the dangers of cigarette smoking that has stretched more than 10 years.

The court's action, issued without comment Monday, leaves in place court rulings that the tobacco industry illegally concealed the dangers of smoking for decades. But it also prevents the administration from trying to extract billions of dollars from the industry either in past profits or to fund a national campaign to curb smoking.

In asking the court to hear its appeal, the administration said the industry's half-century of deception ''has cost the lives and damaged the health of untold millions of Americans.''
The appeal was signed by Elena Kagan, the solicitor general, a couple of months before President Barack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court.

Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest tobacco maker, its parent company Altria Group Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., British American Tobacco Investments Ltd. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. filed separate but related appeals that took issue with a federal judge's 1,600-page opinion and an appeals court ruling that found the industry engaged in racketeering and fraud over several decades.

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the companies engaged in a scheme to defraud the public by falsely denying the adverse health effects of smoking, concealing evidence that nicotine is addictive and lying about their manipulation of nicotine in cigarettes to create addiction. A federal appeals court in Washington upheld the findings.

At the same time, however, the courts have said the government is not entitled to collect $280 billion in past profits or $14 billion for a national campaign to curb smoking. The high court previously denied the government's appeal on that issue.

The companies argue that the government improperly used the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO law, against them. The racketeering law often is employed against the Mafia and other criminal organizations.

The companies also say the courts' decision to brand their statements about smoking as fraudulent unfairly denied them their First Amendment rights to engage in the public-health debate about smoking.

The administration said the money it seeks from the industry is commensurate with the harm it has caused.

The public health groups in the case are: American Cancer Society; American Heart Association; American Lung Association; Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights; National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.

The groups are most interested in forcing the tobacco companies to pay for a wide-ranging education campaign to discourage people from taking up smoking and helping others quit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smoke-Free Air Laws = Big Decline in Heart Attacks

Americans would suffer 18,000 fewer attacks per year, save millions in health costs, study finds.

Read the entire artcle on Bloomberg Businessweek's website: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/639298.html

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Don’t get sneaky with smoke ban

The last thing Wisconsin needs this summer as the state transitions to a ban on smoking in the workplace is for tavern owners to try to sneak around the real intent of the new law.

Starting July 5, all workplaces in Wisconsin must be smoke-free. The Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle deserve credit for finally accomplishing this much-needed state policy.

The law is a huge boost for the health of state residents - especially those who work in places that, until now, have allowed a heavy haze of second-hand smoke to fill indoor spaces.

So, as we said when the law passed a year ago - with the now-imminent implementation date of July 5 - three cheers for this long-needed change.

Now, we hope owners of bars and taverns don't try to manipulate the part of the law that allows for smoking on outdoor patios and other outside places. Even allowing for smoking in outdoor areas was a compromise needed to get the overall law passed, so it's in the best interest of everyone if that provision is upheld as intended.

There was some chatter around the topic last week because Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill that clarified part of the original law related to the definition of enclosed spaces versus outdoor spaces. Smoking is banned in enclosed spaces, but not outdoors. So if a bar owner creates a new "outdoor" patio that happens to have four walls, a roof and lots of windows to open, is it OK to smoke there? Answer: it shouldn't be.

Let's not play games or get cute in trying to sneak around the new law. No smoking indoors - it's that simple. And let's not try to reinvent the definition of outdoors in an attempt to let people smoke in what really is an indoor facility.

We're sure it won't take smokers long to get used to stepping outside - truly outside - to enjoy their habit. And everyone else inside can continue to breathe easier.

View other Editorials online

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SC 50 cent cigarette tax increase passes!

Great news from South Carolina today after years of work on the tobacco tax there. It is especially gratifying that $5 million from the tax will be dedicated to the tobacco prevention and cessation program. This increase should help in many other states.

The SC Senate overrode Governor Sanford's veto 33-13 today after yesterday's 90-29 House vote to override. Congratulations to the dedicated and tenacious advocates who have worked for 10 long years to raise the state's 7 cent tax. Hope this provides enouragement to other states working on tobacco tax campaigns-especially NC and GA. Also note the bill inclues $5 million for tobacco control in a state that has dedicated little ($2 million) or nothing for prevention and cessation for the past several years! Way to go SC Tobacco Collaborative and partners!

Check out the article here: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/Script/DisplayPressRelease.php3?Display=1210

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Austrailia to Introduce Tough Restrictions on Cigarette Labels

SYDNEY — Tobacco companies would be forced to use plain, logo-free packaging on their cigarettes in a bid to make them less attractive to smokers under legislation introduced Thursday by Australia's government, which dubbed the move a world-first.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Smokeless Products' Dangers Exposed

Two recent articles exposing the harmfullness of some of the new products developed by RJR and other tobacco companies just hit the media markets. Just another reason why comprensive tobacco prevention and control funding is needed. Click on the links below to view the articles.

MSNBC: "Tobacco ‘mints’ tied to kids’ poisoning" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36564107

The New York Times: "Flavored tobacco pellets are denounced as a lure to young users"

Friday, April 16, 2010

WI one of 14 States to Raise Cigarette Taxes in 2009

The national average state excise tax is up to $1.34 per pack, according to an AP newstory posted in USA Today last week. 14 states, including Wisconsin increased their state sales tax on a pack of cigarettes in 2009.

Click on the link below to read the whole story.


Monday, April 5, 2010

60 Minutes Story on Snus, Harm Reduction

In case you didn’t watch 60 Minutes last night snus and other smokeless tobacco products were discussed:

NEW!!! Below are comments from Dr. Brian Harrison, MD, FACOEM, Affinity Health:

The media love controversy. They create it even where there is consensus. For example:

1) In the 60 Minute piece, Dr. Fagerstrom quotes "Risk Reduction" statistics for Snus (which is not swallowed).
These statistics do not apply to dissolvables (Orbs, Sticks, and Strips) which are swallowed.
We should assume that swallowing tobacco will increase the risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, more than Snus does. We can't expose a whole generation to a probable carcinogen while waiting for enough cases of cancer to develop to allow conclusions.
The Precautionary Principle requires we take prudent action based on the severity of this hazard, rather than speculating about reduction of risk
2) Dissolvables and Snus both promote youth initiation of tobacco use, deliberately.
The marketing bespeaks this.
The design accomplishes this. Some deliver 3 mg nicotine in seconds. Cigarettes average 1 mg in 7-10 minutes.
These are new addiction devices, not new therapies
3) Cigarette smokers who adopt smokeless tobacco are more likely to become dual users than they are to discontinue smoking. And dual users are more likely to stop making attempts to quit smoking in the future.

4) Even if some clinicians think they can "manage" certain individual cases of nicotine addiction with smokeless tobacco, the net effect these products have on the population is to increase consumption of all forms of tobacco. That happens by youth initiation, dual-use development, and reduced future quit attempts.

5) Tobacco manufacturers argue that the smokeless tobacco products they make will help society by providing a safer alternative to cigarettes. But they also make the same cigarettes, which they admit are the worse alternative. I will listen to their argument only when tobacco manufacturers stop making cigarettes. They can't say smokeless is the lesser of two evils, when they sell both evils.

6) More than once, the claim appears in the 60 Minute piece that Snus is may be more effective than Nicotine Replacement Therapies (Nicorette Gum, Commit Lozenges, Patches, etc) because it is "cheaper and more accessible." Those are exactly the keys to addicting youth: make the substance cheap and available.

7) Manufacturers of smokeless and of the eCigarette are encouraging a confrontation between employer and employee at the worksite. Employers need to prepare for this confrontation by making their own company policy "no tobacco and no non-therapeutic nicotine on the premises, ever." The 7/5/10 smoke free workplace law isn't enough.

Brian D. Harrison MD, FACOEM
Director of Health and Productivity Management
Affinity Occupational Health
1186 Appleton Road
Menasha, WI 54952

Phone (920) 727-8729
(800) 541-0351
Fax (920) 727-8740


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oneida Nation Casinos to Join WI going Smoke-Free

Casino-goers can breathe easier starting July 5 at two of the Oneida Nation's one-stop casions. This is a huge step forward for tribal nations as Oneida is the first to adopt a smoke-free policy.

The casinos that will be going smoke-free are the the Highway 54 and County Road E & EE One-Stops. They are intended to serve as a pilot program to possibly a much broader tribal wide smoking ban.

Check out the story online:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bars vs Grocery Stores: See How WI Compares

A map was recently compiled of bars and grocery stores and WI as you can guess, falls into the "more bars that grocery stores" category.

To view the map, click the link below. Also, if you have a few moments, read some of the comments. Many are from people that used to or still live in Wisconsin.


-emily and lisa

Thursday, March 18, 2010

US House Passes PACT Act Curbing Internet Tobacco Sales in Victory for Kids and Taxpayers

Voting 387 to 25, the U.S. House of Representatives today gave final congressional approval to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, legislation to curtail the growing sales of tax-evading, low-cost cigarettes and other tobacco products over the Internet and through the mail. Passage of this legislation is a milestone in the fight to keep kids from smoking and prevent tax evasion that costs state and federal taxpayers billions each year.

We applaud Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the chief House sponsor, and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Senate sponsor, for their leadership and persistence in pursuing this legislation and winning its approval. The Senate unanimously approved the bill on March 11. We look forward to President Obama continuing his strong leadership on tobacco control by signing the PACT Act into law.

Thank Senator Herb Kohl for sponsoring an important piece of tobacco control legislation by sending him an email: http://kohl.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Interactive Tobacco Policy Map Launched

Interactive Tool Will Provide Latest Data on State Smoking Laws and Tobacco Control Spending
A new interactive map from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will give policy-makers and advocates a nationwide picture of continuing state efforts on key tobacco control policies.

The “map” is actually three distinct maps, each focusing on a different aspect of tobacco policy: state-by-state breakdowns on smoke-free laws, cigarette tax rates and total tobacco control spending. The breakdowns include population, timeline and other information to help present a complete picture of each state’s efforts.

The new map uses data from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights and will be updated as new information becomes available. The tool is easily shareable by hyperlink or embeddable code.

View the map.
View the video: Five Questions with Michelle Larkin, Leader, Public Health Team, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Monday, March 15, 2010

US Senate Passes PACT Act to regulate online tobacco sales

The Senate passed the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act yesterday by unanimous consent. The bill will now go back to the House, which passed a similar version 397-11. The PACT ACT requires Internet sellers of cigarettes and smokeless to do age and ID verification online at purchase and at delivery; makes cigarettes and smokeless nonmailable matter (with some minor sharply restricted exceptions); requires full tax payment to states and localities before delivery; sets high penalties for violations, and puts in place tough enforcement mechanisms states and localities can use. The PACT Act also gives state and local governments direct rights to enforce the Act against illegal Internet sellers in federal court (while protecting State and Tribal sovereignty and immunity rights).

The fact that the PACT Act has passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House 397-11 means it should be a new federal law quite soon. That should be very useful in rebutting the cigarette companies' claim that if states increase their cigarette tax rates smokers will simply go to the Internet to buy tax-free cigarettes. The PACT Act will quickly shut the door on that possibility, thereby protecting and increasing state cigarette tax revenues.

For more on what the PACT Act does, see our factsheet at: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0361.pdf

For how state and local governments will benefit from the PACT Act, see the factsheet at: http://tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0292.pdf

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kansas Votes to go Smoke-Free!

Another victory over second-hand smoke as Kansas will be the next smoke-free state!

Read more about it here: http://voices.kansascity.com/node/7801

Thursday, February 25, 2010

re:TH!NK's Good Drug's Gone Bad train-the-trainer presentation was a success!

Slick roads and blustery weather did not prevent 122 professionals from attending re:TH!NK's train-the-trainer presentation at Sunnyview Expo Center February 24. People came from both Winnebago County and all across WI to hear more about perscription drug trends and how they can team up to prevent it.

re:TH!NK's goals of the training were to provide knowledge, support, and resources to a target group of youth workers who could deliver a prevention message to youth on Perscription Drug Abuse. Good Drugs Gone Bad community toolkits were distributed free of charge.The training included a navigational session that taught attendees how to use it and they plan to. Coalition Coordinator Lisa Brown summarized, "100% of the people who attended and evaluated our Good Drugs Gone Bad training say they would recommend the toolkit presentations to a colleague. They are committed to returning to their school or agency and planning presentations themselves. This is a great start! Attendees shared they felt competent and empowered to deliver lessons on Preventing Perscription Drug Abuse to youth." For further information please contact lbrown@co.winnebago.wi.us

Presenters included Lisa Brown and Emily Dieringer re:TH!NK coalition coordinators who were joined by Brad Dunlap Project Director of the Lake Winnebago MEG unit,Fred Umland of Winnebago County Juvenile Intake, Steve Herman(Ret.)of Winnebago County Sheriff Office, Jason Weber Town of Menasha PD , and Aaron Zemlock of Menasha PD.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Coded to Obey Law, Marlboro Lights to become "Golds"

When it comes to new rules for marketing so-called light cigarettes, tobacco companies plan to honor the letter of the law — but to shade the truth, critics say.

Come June, under the new federal tobacco law, cigarette companies will no longer be allowed to use words like “light” or “mild” on packages to imply that some cigarettes are safer than others.
But in a move that critics say simply skirts the new rules, tobacco companies plan to use packaging to make those same distinctions: light colors for light cigarettes.

So Marlboro Lights, the nation’s best-selling brand, from Philip Morris, will be renamed Marlboro Gold, according to a flier the company recently sent to distributors. Likewise, Marlboro Ultra Lights will change into Marlboro Silver.

And anticipating the new rules, R.J. Reynolds has already changed Salem Ultra Lights, which are sold in a silver box, to Silver Box.

“They’re circumventing the law,” said Gregory N. Connolly, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “They’re using color coding to perpetuate one of the biggest public health myths into the next century.”

The National Cancer Institute says there are no health benefits from light cigarettes and that they may be more dangerous because some people inhale them more deeply than regular cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration has begun a federal review of the color-coding approach, a step that could conceivably lead to further actions against products designated as light.
The law taking effect this summer does not bar companies from making light cigarettes, only from using words like “light” in marketing. The industry says that it is complying and that it should be free to use colors on its packages to market different product lines to adult consumers.
“Colors are really used to identify and differentiate different brand packs,” David M. Sylvia, a spokesman for Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, said Thursday. “We do not use colors to communicate whether one product is less harmful or more harmful than another.”
In a letter to the F.D.A. on Thursday, James E. Dillard III, a senior vice president of Altria, said banning certain colors would be unconstitutional under commercial speech and property protections.

The tobacco regulation passed last year gave the F.D.A. sweeping new regulatory authority over tobacco. One new requirement is that companies must prove to the F.D.A. that a product is safer than conventional cigarettes before it can be marketed as such.

While Congress specifically banned some terms, including “low” and “mild” — present on about half the packages of cigarettes sold in the United States — it also gave the F.D.A. authority to act against “similar descriptors” that could mislead consumers to think certain products were less risky.

Last month, the agency published a notice that it could take action against colors like silver or pastels, as well as additional words like “silver,” “smooth” and “natural,” which some companies are still planning to use on cigarette packages. The notice sought public and industry comments, which are due Friday.

Kathleen Quinn, a spokeswoman for the new F.D.A. Center for Tobacco Products, said Thursday that the agency would “thoroughly review” the use of color on cigarette packages by June 22, the effective date of the wording ban and the first anniversary of the law’s passage.

As it happens, Friday is also the deadline for petitions to be filed with the Supreme Court asking it to hear appeals from the 2006 conviction of tobacco makers for racketeering in making fraudulent claims about light cigarettes. According to Professor Connolly of Harvard, the tobacco industry has known for at least a decade from World Health Organization actions that words like “light” would eventually have to come off the boxes, giving it time to prepare the other visual cues on packaging.

He shared with The New York Times a set of marketing materials about the new color system that he said had been given to him by people working in the tobacco industry.

The color coding, Professor Connolly said, is red and dark green for regular and menthol; blue, gold and light green for light cigarettes; and silver and orange for ultra lights.

“The myth of safer cigarettes is perpetuated,” Professor Connolly said. “Light cigarettes unleashed a monster.”

But rather than fight over shading and coloring on the packages, he urged the F.D.A., using its new authority, to regulate filters and ingredients in those cigarettes to make them taste harsher.
Light cigarettes have a different taste because they are filtered differently and may contain additives, Professor Connolly said. Studies have shown that people who smoke light cigarettes satisfy their nicotine cravings by inhaling the smoke more deeply, smoking more cigarettes and taking more puffs on each cigarette.

Altria said it had used terms like “light” as well as packaging colors to connote different tastes, not safety. But study after study — including ones by the industry disclosed in tobacco lawsuits — has shown consumers believe the terms and colors connote a safer product.

Moreover, adults believe cigarette packs with the terms “smooth,” “silver” or “gold” are also easier to quit than other ones, and teenagers said they were more likely to try them, according to a survey and study published in September in the European Journal of Public Health.
The survey authors, led by David Hammond, a health studies professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, called for plain, uncolored packaging.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington advocacy group, said cigarette companies had responded to bans of terms like “light” and “low tar” in at least 78 countries by color-coding their packaging to convey the same ideas.

“If the F.D.A. concludes that either new wording or color coding is misleading consumers,” he said, “then the F.D.A. has authority to take corrective action.”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Creation of a WI Prescription Drug Monitoring Program One Step Closer

AB227 was heard Jan 20 during the State Legislature's Health Commitee meeting to consider moving forward with a statewide PDMP (Perscription Drug Monitoring Program). The Program would create a database that would track filled perscriptions in order to reduce "Dr. Shopping" and other diversion stunts.

About 10 people testified in favor of the bill or educated the committee including 2 members from re:TH!NK. Others present included concerned police, pharmacists, parents, and forensic pathologists from across the state.

WI is one of only a few states that do not currently have or are in the process of creating a PDMP. All surrounding states have enacted such a database to provide authority in the monitoring of specific controlled medicines. The lack of such a database/program could explain the increase in diversion practices and addiction of presecription drugs.

The committee said they will schedule a vote SOON.

Additionally, on Feb 24th the Pharmacy Society of WI will be holding its annual Legislative Day in Madison. PSW is the state organization that represents all Wisconsin pharmacists in all practice environments, hospital, chain, independent etc. On Legislative Day about 100-150 pharmacists from all over the state will meet in the morning to discuss and be briefed on various current government and legislative issues important to pharmacists and our patients.

One of the items that PSW has supported since it was first proposed is establishment of a controlled drug database to help us identify the drug seekers. In the afternoon of the 24th all of these pharmacists will be meeting with their individual Legislators and Senators and will be urging them to support passage of the drug monitoring database.

For more/current information on the status of AB227 click: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/AB227hst.html
or for more information on PDMPs click: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/faq/rx_monitor.htm


Monday, January 18, 2010

Youth Smoking Rates Related to Tobacco-Retailer Location

A study that appears in the Nov. American Journal of Public Health found that youth experimental smoking is related to proximity of tobacco outlets near high schools in urban areas. To read the abstract of article, click the link below.


OR check out the summary put together by CADCA: http://www.cadca.org/category/drug-type/tobacco

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Article in The Northwestern about re:TH!NK

December 27, 2009
Drug-free coalition hopes to increase its appeal with name change

By Jennifer K. Woldtof The Northwestern

A community coalition aimed at changing the attitudes and behavior teens have about drugs and alcohol has changed its name.

The change is an attempt to reach out not only to the county’s youth, but also to get more people involved in changing their habits, while challenging cultural norms the group sees in Wisconsin when it comes to alcohol, drugs and tobacco.The Tobacco-Free and Drug-Free Communities Coalition of Winnebago County was renamed re:Th!nk: Your Life. Your Choice. on Dec. 17, 200 days before the state goes smoke-free on July 5.

The coalition is funded with federal and state dollars and aims to tackle the problems of drinking, drugs and tobacco among young people through a variety of programs and outreach efforts.

While the coalition targets its efforts at youth, Emily Dieringer, a coalition coordinator who focuses on tobacco issues, said many of the organization’s efforts pertain to other community members because the work attempts to change attitudes about alcohol, drugs and tobacco."We’re still going to be working on the same stuff, but with the new name and outlook, we’re hoping to be more effective with the coalition," Dieringer said. "We’re trying to change the community’s health and we need the community’s help to do that."

Dieringer said the old name was "standoffish" and gave the impression the coalition was against all alcohol and tobacco use. The coalition hopes the new name has broad appeal, and Dieringer said she hopes it makes people think about the roles alcohol and tobacco play in their lives and whether it leads to a healthy life.

"We’re trying to make people healthier and our community a better place to live," Dieringer said.

View the article online at The Northwestern's site here: http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200991226060