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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

US Senators Call for Ban on Flavored Cigars

A group of U.S. senators is urging the Food and Drug Administration to ban flavored cigars, claiming the "candy-like flavorings" increasingly are luring teens into smoking-- even as they turn away from cigarettes.

"Cigars contain the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals contained in cigarettes, and public health experts have warned that cigars are not safe alternatives to cigarettes," the senators wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

The letter comes as the FDA exerts newly granted authority to regulate tobacco products. The FDA in 2009 officially banned flavored cigarettes. Despite some confusion at the time, the regulation did not end up applying to many flavored cigars and cigarillos like Swisher Sweets or Black & Milds, which are among the most popular cigar products in the country.

Read more at FoxNews.com

Friday, December 9, 2011

When is comes to quitting what states are the best/worst?

The American Lung Association released a report, looking at smoking cessation programs and treatments offered in each state. States were ranked based on a point system, the higher the point total the better the ranking.

Coming in first, with 49 points, was the great state of......Maine! Next in line were North Dakota (45 pts) and Delaware (44 pts). When you someone taking first, that means someone has to be last. The worst state is........Georgia, which got 9 points. Next to the bottom was Louisiana (15 pts) and then Alabama and Maryland (tied at 20 pts).

So where was Wisconsin? Well we were in the middle of the pack, so to speak. We ranked 20th, tied with Pennsylvania (34 pts).

What they found out was that smoking assistance was inconsistent from state-to-state, even from insurance plan-to-insurance plan.

We all know that each person quits for different reasons, and it looks like states feel there are various methods of assistance.

More information can be out using the link below;

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Addiction Incorporated

A documentary is set to be released later this month that exposes Big Tobacco's early lies about their cigarettes.

Tobacco companies produce the most deadly product on earth while they maintained a perfect record of defeating those who try to reign them in. Addiction Incorporated, tells the true story of how Victor DeNoble's unexpected discovery of an addictive ingredient in tobacco leads to both more addictive Marlboro cigarettes and Congressional testimony. The public revelation of long held tobacco industry secrets leads journalists, politicians, attorneys and whistle blowers into an unexpected alliance, that achieves the first ever federal regulation of the tobacco industry. DeNoble's unwavering determination to "do some good" leads to a career as an educator that informs kids about the world's only industry where success is measured by how many people you can addict.

Variance Films in partnership with Acappella Pictures will be releasing Addiction Incorporated first in New York on December 14th and later in Los Angeles on January 13th, 2012. With plans to go "nationally" throughout early 2012.

More information along with a trailer can be seen by using the link below: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1735495

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Major League Baseball Big News.....

Yesterday Major League Baseball (MLB) made a big announcement. First they congratulated Ryan Braun (of the Milwaukee Brewers) for winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award. The first Brewer to win since "Rockin" Robin Yount!

Then they announced a new 5 year collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association...........so no strike (good luck with that NBA). Within the new agreement MLB took steps to prevent smokeless tobacco products from getting on the field. There were five new "rules" involving smokeless tobacco:

1) Players can no longer bring tobacco PRODUCTS onto the field, in their pockets or on their person.

2) Players can no longer use tobacco products during televised interviews, during autograph signings, or at any event where fans will be present.

3) MLB and the Players Association will partner with The Partnership at drugfree.org on a national public service announcement campaign that will feature notable players.

4) The Players Association will create a Tobacco Cessation Center for the players, providing resources and assistance to educate players and help them quit. Players will also now receive oral cancer screenings as part of their annual physicals.

These are progressive steps that keep players' health in minds and allow young fans to see their heroes being tobacco free. Great news.....and thanks to MLB for making "the right call"!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Reason to Quit: Today is the 36th Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society is marking the 36th Great American Smokeout today by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking. By doing so, smokers take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Quitting is hard. Especially because nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs out there. But there's lots of resources available to help you, or a loved one, quit smoking:

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for one-on-one phone coaching.
  • Check out Become an Ex to relearn to live life without cigarettes.
  • Need an extra boost? Sign up for free text messages from SmokeFreeTXT.
  • Visit the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention's (CTRI) website for more resources on quitting.

Good luck to all those who attempt to quit today! Your family, friends, and body, will thank you!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ruling AGAINST New Warning Labels

Yesterday, US District Court Judge Richard Leon (Washington DC) granted a preliminary injunction to tobacco companies....ruling that the FDA warning labels violate the First Amendment. Judge Leon's decision centered around the message coupled with graphic images on the warning labels that were due to hit selves on Sept. 2012. The labels were declared unconstitutional, as doing more than providing factual information. This ruling means that tobacco companies do NOT have to use the new warning labels until the case is resolved.

The next logical step will be that the Justice Department will file an appeal, which makes it unclear exactly what the impact of this decision will be.

Congress instructed the FDA to require the labels, following the lead of the Canadian regulations that require similarly graphic imagines on cigarettes packs. In 2009, Congress approved the law with broad, bipartisan support. This law gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products.

Is this a "set back"? Yes and no. Yes, because we were expecting the warning labels to provide a powerful incentive for smokers to take the life-saving step of quitting and for kids never to try that first cigarette. No, because the Justice Department was expecting the ruling based on Judge Leon's views and sympathy for tobacco companies. The next step is to appeal and let the US Court of Appeals hear the argurements.

TO BE CONTINUED...........................

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bill Prohibits Purchasing Tobacco Products for Minors

Last week, the WI State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 93 on a voice vote. Under the legislation, individuals are statutorily prohibited from purchasing or providing tobacco products for minors. Under a substitute amendment that was also approved, the legislation is expanded to include all “nicotine products,” which are defined as any product that contains nicotine and is not a cigarette, a tobacco product or a product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a smoking cessation product. The bill will now be considered in the Senate. More information on the bill and the substitute amendment is available in the Legislative Council memo.

Thank you Assembly members for passing a very important piece of legislation. Let's hope the Senate can make the same decision so WI can make it easier to keep ALL tobacco products out of the hands of minors.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smoking Symposium Scheduled

It was announced that the Caron Foundation's Student Assistance Program is hosting the "Adolescent Smoking Prevention and Cessation Symposium" in Nashville, Tennessee later this year.

This event is funded by Philip Morris USA, US Smokeless Tobacco and John Middleton Company, which are all owned by Altria. You should all recognize the Middleton name, they manufacture cigars and pipe tobacco that have fruit and alcohol flavors. Together these companies produce the most popular brands of tobacco products amongst youth. In fact, Marlboro cigarettes are the most popular brand according to American High School students.

Clearly, the invested interest for these companies is insuring youth continue to use their products, NOT is prevention and cessation. Its bad enough that 9 out 10 smokers started smoking before they were eighteen (18).

The agenda shows no recognized experts in youth prevention/cessation, nor are nay legitimate tobacco control organizations involved. In fact two of the scheduled presentations are from other Altria- funded organizations.

So, is this just another attempt to "polish" the image of Altria? It would appear so, what a sad attempt...........

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Check or Not to Check.......?

That seems to be the question when it comes to ID's.

As a youth volunteer enters a tobacco retailer while doing our WI Wins compliance checks they have their ID's ready for display. When the employee doesn't ask, the youth leaves with a face of shock. Other times the clerk asks for the ID, after "checking" the ID, they decided to sell tobacco anyways....what we call a math error. Usually the clerk just didn't take the time to determine the teens age. So which scenario happens more often? Well that happened to be a question at our latest MJC "Mega-Meeting"....and now we have the answer!

For our MJC area, 62% of the time the employee simply didn't ask for an ID. There were 12 incidents (out of 32) where the clerk "checked" the ID, but then completed a sale of tobacco to the youth. It could be a variety of reasons for the sale to occur, however most of the time its due to the clerk making a error with the date of birth.

Individually, each county was different. In Sheboygan Co., 100% of sales were due to the clerk not asking for an ID. Manitowoc Co. clerks asked, but made a mistake 88% of the time when a sale occurred. While Winnebago Co. was more equal, with 60% of the sales being attributed to an error being made with the date of birth. Door and Kewaunee have NO SALES so far this year.

When it comes to statewide stats, its a "coin-flip". Of the 467 sales in Wisconsin, 52% of them where due to a "ID checking error". And what about the clerks that just don't ask.....that happen 48% of the time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Study Shows Significant Rise in Cigar Use Among Young Adults

A study released in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health measures brand usage trends and the prevelance of cigar use among specific populations. The study is the first of its kind.

Cigars and cigarillos have become an emerging issue in tobacco control in recent years, in part because of their appeal to young people through lower prices and sweet flavors. Little cigars are similar in size and appearance to cigarettes. Cigarettes are wrapped in white paper, while little cigars are wrapped in brown paper, which contains some tobacco leaf. Increased use of these products is a concern, as users believe that cigarillos and little cigars are less harmful than cigarettes. However, like cigarettes, cigars pose significant health risks.

The top five brands were Black & Mild, Swisher Sweets, Phillies, White Owl, and Garcia Y Vega, all of which are primarily cigarillos or little cigar products. Use of these brands was most prevelant with younger, male, black non-hispanics, with a propensity for risk behavior, and those reporting current cigarette, marijuana, and blunt use.

Cigars continue to come in a variety of flavors, such as cherry, chocolate, vanilla, peach, rum, raspberry, and sour apple. Additionally, packaging on these products does not always carry a warning label, and so health warnings may go unnoticed by cigar users.

Full article can be read: http://www.legacyforhealth.org/4697.aspx

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

U.S. Dept of Transportation Proposes Ban on Electronic Cigarettes on Aircraft

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Department of Transportation is proposing to explicitly ban the use of electronic cigarettes on aircraft.
“Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in flight,” said Secretary LaHood.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in today’s Federal Register would clarify that the airline smoking rule prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes and similar products, as tobacco products are now prohibited. Electronic cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine or other substances to the smoker in the form of a vapor.

Electronic cigarettes cause potential concern because there is a lack of scientific data and knowledge of the ingredients in electronic cigarettes. The Department views its current regulatory ban on smoking of tobacco products to be sufficiently broad to include the use of electronic cigarettes. The Department is taking this action to eliminate any confusion over whether the Department’s ban includes electronic cigarettes. The proposal would apply to all scheduled flights of U.S. and foreign carriers involving transportation to and from the U.S.
Amtrak has banned the use of electronic smoking devices on trains and in any area where smoking is prohibited. The Air Force Surgeon General issued a memorandum highlighting the safety concerns regarding electronic cigarettes and placed them in the same category as tobacco products. The U.S Navy has banned electronic cigarettes below decks in submarines. Further, several states have taken steps to ban either the sale or use of electronic cigarettes.

This NPRM proposes an explicit ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in all forms, including but not limited to electronic cigars, pipes and devices designed to look like everyday products such as pens. The ban does not include the use of a device such as a nebulizer that delivers a medically beneficial substance to a user in the form of a vapor.

The Department is also considering whether to extend the ban on smoking, including electronic cigarettes, to charter flights of U.S. carriers and foreign air carriers with aircraft that have a designed seating capacity of 19 or more passenger seats.

The rulemaking proposed today is a part of the Department's broader effort to strengthen airline passenger rights and improve information available to the public.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Smokeless Marketing Doubled

The Federal Trade Commission reported that smokeless tobacco marketing increased from $354.1 million in 2006 to $411.3 million in 2007 and $547.9 million in 2008. When measured from 2005, smokeless tobacco marketing has more than doubled, from $250.8 million to $547.9 million.

Counting both cigarette and smokeless tobacco marketing, the tobacco companies spent $10.5 billion on marketing in 2008. That's nearly $29 million per day!! The tobacco industry spends 52% more than in 1998, which was the when the tobacco settlement was enacted. That settlement was suppose to curtail tobacco marketing.

In 2008, tobacco companies spent 20 times more than states currently spend on preventing kids from smoking and helping smokers quit. This huge mismatch between how much tobacco companies spend to encourage tobacco use and how much states spend to discourage is a major contributing factor to the slowing of smoking declines in recent years.

Tobacco use is the nation's number one cause of preventable death, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. These deaths and costs are entirely preventable if elected officials at all levels fight tobacco use as aggressively as the tobacco companies market their deadly products.

Full article below:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smoking While Pregnant = Asthma?

When it comes to the effects of smoking, the most delicate time for a child's genetic development is before birth.

A new study found that exposure to tobacco smoke in utero was far more likely to cause severe asthma than exposure during the first two years of life. Children suffering with severe asthma were more than three times more likely to have been exposed to smoke before birth than kids with milder forms of the disease.

The study, to be released in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, sought to find when tobaccco smoke exposure had the greatest consequences: before birth, from birth to age 2, or at the moment of the child's symptoms. The only factor that actually had an impact of the severity of a child's asthma was whether the mother smoked during pregnancy.

Nationwide, the annual cost of asthma is estimated at about $56 billion in premature deaths, health care costs and missed work and school days.

Sadly, nearly 14% of American women continue to smoke thoughout pregnancy.

Full article can be read here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Employers Turn to Tobacco Screening

A trend has hit many companies across the nation as health care cost continue to "sky-rocket". Companies have turned to a tobacco screen. Simply put, a swab is placed into the subject's mouth. This swab collects saliva, which it analyzes to see if the person is a smoker or not. The test last about 5 minutes, and consists of sticking a "toothbrushed" shape swab between the cheek and gum.

The advantage is that if the employee is found to be a non-smoker, they are entitled to a lower health care plan. A saving of up to $600 annually. The test cost can be rather expensive, up to $100 per test.

Concerns range from "what's next...obesity/alcohol/etc" to "is big brother watching us?". But the overall answer is how can we work together to save money. In today's unstable economy, any savings or lower costs seem to grab out attention.

For more information: http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_18713559?source=rss

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time for a Change

We all know that time brings change. Gone are the days of seeing kids across the street from the High School smoking cigarettes. Big Tobacco has "new & impoved" versions of cigarettes. No longer do kids wish to stick tobacco in their mouths and blow out smoke. It draws attention and quite frankly it's "not cool". So along comes other tobacco products (OTP's) that come in any flavor you can imagine. Even the appearance has changed, cigarettes have been replaced with orbs, sticks, strips, and pouches....just to name a few. They haven't changed the product--still tobacco. And the outcome remains the same.....sickness, cancer, even death!

Check out what's happening in Colorado, get ready for a new "fight".

Monday, August 8, 2011

Waking up with a Cigarette?

Smokers who indulge in their first cigarette shortly after waking up have an increased risk of developing lung and head and neck cancers, according to two new studies published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society. The findings may help identify smokers who have a greater risk of developing cancer.

Subjects who smoked their first cigarette between 31 and 60 minutes after waking up were more than 30% more likely to develop lung cancer; the odds increased to nearly 80% for those who smoked in their first half-hour awake. For head and neck cancers, subjects were more than 40% more likely if they indulged in the 31-60 minute window, and nearly 60% more likely for those who smoked in their first half-hour awake.

The half-life of nicotine is relatively short- only two hours - so after six or eight hours of sleep, your body has gotten rid of nearly all of the nicotine you've inhaled the day before. There's very little left in the body in the morning and the receptors in the brain are crying out for more nicotine. Those who are the most dependent need that cigarette earlier, and often smoke more cigarettes throughout the day, more intensely.

For more info, click the link below:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Big Tobacco: Influencing Lawmakers, Harming Health of the Public

A few news stories came out recently exposing how Big Tobacco has been using millions of dollars to influence lawmakers and laws in Californina and New Hampshire. These are just two examples of the tobacco industry's power and control over politics and ultimately, the public's health.

According to an American Heart Association study, the tobacco industry spent $9.3 million during the past two years to fight cigarette taxes, support candidates and influence politics in California. And in the past 10 years, Big T has spent almost $100 million ($50 million coming from Phillip Morris) in hopes to oppose bills to tax changes and endorse tobacco-industry-friendly candidates. Read more here.

In New Hampshire, lawmakers supportive of a 10-cent DECREASE to cigarette taxes claimed that they were trying to raise revenue by lowing the cost of cigarettes to bring in smokers from neighboring states. Logically flawed thinking is what it is! "New Hampshire, at $1.78, already had the lowest cigarette tax rate by far. Maine's tobacco tax is $2 a pack, Massachusetts $2.51 and Vermont is $2.61 a pack. It was hard to see what difference lowering it to $1.68 would make."

And to top it off, what this actually turned in to, of course, is a profit boost for the tobacco industy. According to The Portsmouth Herald and seacoastonline.com as soon as the decrese went into effect, the tobacco companies raised prices.

Have you noticed that cigarette prices in WI have increased recentlly too?!? And it has NOTHING to do with a tax increase (the last state tax increase went into effect in September of 2009 and the last federal tax increase went into effect in March of 2009). All in an effort to make more money for their shareholders, regardless of how many kids they addict or how many adults die from tobacco-related diseases.

The greed of the tobacco industry is dispicable.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Facts and Figures

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin held a meeting in Washington DC on July 28th, the topic was "Cessation in High Risk Populations". Out of this meeting, came a few new facts that caught my attention. Here's just a few:

Smoking rates: w/college education 10%
if below the poverty level 30%

suffer from a mental illness 39%

dependent on alcohol 50%

Approximately half of the 443,000 annual tobacco-related deaths in the US are among people with mental illness and/or addictions; and they consume 44% of the cigarettes in the US

There are 46 million smokers in the US; 70% want to quit; 45% will try this year. In comparison, China has 350 million smokers...only 13% plan to quit.

The numbers continue to be staggering, but the fight remains the same.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Teen Smoking: 10 ways to help teens stay smoke-free

By Mayo Clinic staff
Teen smoking might begin innocently, but it can become a long-term problem. In fact, most adult smokers begin smoking as teenagers. Your best bet? Stop your teen from taking that first puff. Follow these tips to help prevent teen smoking.
No. 1: Understand the attraction
Teen smoking can be a form of rebellion or a way to fit in with a particular group of friends. Some teens light up in an attempt to lose weight or to feel better about themselves. Others smoke to feel cool or independent. Ask your teen how he or she feels about smoking and if any of your teen's friends smoke. Applaud your teen's good choices, and talk about the consequences of bad choices. You might also talk with your teen about how tobacco companies try to influence ideas about smoking — such as showing smoking in movies to create the perception that it's glamorous.
No. 2: Say no to teen smoking
You might feel as if your teen doesn't hear a word you say, but say it anyway. Tell your teen that smoking isn't allowed. Your disapproval might have more impact than you think. Teens whose parents set the firmest smoking restrictions tend to smoke less than do teens whose parents don't set smoking limits. The same goes for teens who feel close to their parents.
No. 3: Set a good example
Teen smoking is more common among teens whose parents smoke. If you don't smoke, keep it up. If you do smoke, quit — now. The earlier you stop smoking, the less likely your teen is to become a smoker. Ask your doctor about ways to stop smoking. In the meantime, don't smoke in the house, in the car or in front of your teen, and don't leave cigarettes where your teen might find them. Explain how unhappy you are with your smoking, how difficult it is to quit and that you'll keep trying until you stop smoking for good.

Read the rest of the Tips and the Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/teen-smoking/HQ00139

Monday, July 18, 2011

America has spoken!!!!

Good news from the Gallop organization. For the first time since this poll question was asked the majority of Americans believe smoking in all public places should be banned.

The question has been asked since the poll started in 2001, however this year is the first time there has been a majority in favor of the ban. An astounding, 59% of Americans are in favor of banning smoking in public places.

Tobacco control organizations and advocates should consider this a major step forward in support for reducing the public's exposure to toxic tobacco smoke.

To read more about this, check out the link below.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Love Smoke-Free Air Video Contest Winner

Congrats to Jordan of Sturgeon Bay for sharing his thoughts about smoke-free air! Jordan was out at Country USA in June and told us why he loves smoke-free air. He also won a $100 gift card!

Watch Jordan's video by clicking here.

To see all the videos, and more photos of our 1-year anniversary of the smoke-free air law celebration events, check out our webpage.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

re:TH!NK Celebrates 1 Year of Smoke-Free Air!

Thank you to everyone that came out to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of WI's smoke-free workplace law. We had a great turn out at Kunkel's Korner in Kewaunee during the day and at Sabre Lanes in Menasha in the evening. Also a special thank you to Mark, owner of Kunkel's and Gary, owner of Sabre Lanes for your partnership on these events!

Below are some media links to the stories that covered the events and the day! (don't forget to watch the video clips as well as read the text)

The best quote came from Tina Schartner, a waitress at Kunkel's Korner. "Now, I just smell like french fries when I go home, instead of cigarette smoke."

Again, thanks for all you support to keep WI smoke-free!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Veto Tax Breaks for Big Tobacco

The following op-ed appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on June 21:

Wisconsin kids and taxpayers are poised to pay the price for Big Tobacco's future profits unless Gov. Scott Walker vetoes a tax break for tobacco manufacturers tucked inside the state budget.
The provision changes the way Wisconsin taxes moist tobacco products, making them cheaper and more appealing to children. This change from price-based taxation to so-called weight-based taxation benefits tobacco giant Philip Morris by reducing the tax on some of its most popular brands such as Skoal and Copenhagen - two brands that combined account for roughly half the youth smokeless market.
The cost of this tax break is our kids' health. Kids have limited budgets and limited means to buy these products. If you make them cheaper, you make it easier for kids to get hooked. In fact, for every 10% increase in the cost of tobacco, there's about a 6% to 7% decrease in the rate of underage users.
Even tobacco manufacturers themselves concede higher taxes on their products lead to fewer users and less profit. As early as 1985, Philip Morris' own documents state, "Of all the concerns, there is one - taxation - that alarms us the most. While marketing restrictions . . . do depress volume, in our experience taxation depresses it much more severely." Clearly, combating "depressed volume" through increased addiction and decreased taxation is still of utmost concern to Philip Morris.
Another even bigger problem is that tobacco manufacturers can now easily manipulate their products' weight to minimize taxation. For example, some of the newest super lightweight snuff products weigh as little as one-eighth that of a standard can of traditional moist tobacco. Over time, this leads to less tobacco revenue for the state and more tobacco users.
Considering Wisconsin spends $2.8 billion annually on tobacco-related health care costs, including $480 million direct from taxpayers through Medicaid, helping Big Tobacco make its products cheaper and more appealing to kids doesn't make sense.
According to a 2009 survey by the federal National Institute of Drug Abuse, smokeless tobacco use among middle and high school kids has remained steady or increased in recent years, even as the teen smoking rate hit an all-time low. In fact, the percentage of 10th-graders using smokeless tobacco "increased significantly," according to the survey, from 5% to 6.5% in just 2009.
Perhaps this increase is due to the fact that many smokeless tobacco products are fruit flavored and are sometimes packaged to look similar to candy - a marketing tactic obviously aimed at kids.
Already, nearly 20% of Wisconsin high school students have tried moist tobacco products. How many more will do so when a can of snuff fits just as easily into their budgets as it does their back pockets?
Tobacco companies will always try to lure kids with new products and new flavors, but Wisconsin does not need to give them a new tax break to do so.
Contact Walker and ask him to veto this tax break and protect our kids from a lifetime of addiction and our state from a future of increased tobacco-related budget burdens.
Gail Sumi is Wisconsin government relations director for the American Cancer Society. Maureen Busalacchi is executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Warning Labels Good for Health

Cigarette packaging and advertising will have a new, less attractive look starting in fall 2010. The graphic warning labels, which were released on Tuesday, are a part of a campaign by the Food and Drug Administration that aims to convey the dangers of tobacco, which is responsible for about 443,000 deaths and nearly $200 billion in medical care and lost productivity in the U.S. every year.

This measure is aimed at making sure that every American understands the dangers of smoking. Most smokers (about 9 out of 10) started smoking before the age of 18. While the Tobacco Industry dubbs their products as a legal products "for adults only," most of their consumers start as kids. These warning labels, which have been shown to be effective in reducing smoking rates in youth and adults are another step foward in health.

For more information about the new warning labels read this MSNBC article or check out the FDA Tobacco website.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tobacco Tax Increases Fight the War on Tobacco

The single most influencer on a youth's decision to use tobacco or a current users decision to quit is the COST. With WI facing program cuts left and right and a $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years, increasing tobacco taxes (and not by converting our moist snuff tax from a percentage-of-price-based system to a weight-based system) is a win win win for our state's YOUTH, CURRENT USERS, and GENERAL TAXPAYERS.

Check out this Blog Post from The Examiner to read what I'm talking about.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York's Parks Go Smoke Free

Earlier this week, New York enanced their smoke-free air law by making it illegal to smoke in parks. On the first day the "new" law took effect, Monday the 23rd, Mother Nature helped by making it rain. By bringing rain, she prevented everyone from lighting up for the day.

On the second day, a reporter from the NY Times took to the park to test the law. Although he escaped without a citation or a police contact, he ran into some fellow New Yorkers who "educated" him on the law. The reporter, Alan Feuer, wrote an article about his experience which you can read below.

His story reminded me of our smoke-free air law here in Wisconsin. Our statistics might show that law enforcement didn't have to write tickets and some then believe "what's the purpose for having the law?". But the law uses fellow Wisconsinintes to enforce the law, using people to promote/educated others about the law. Which makes social norms more powerful that legal laws.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sheboygan's Smoke-Free Ordinance

The City of Sheboygan's smoke-free ordinance is one of a handful of municipalities being challenged by the Tavern League because their definitions of "enclosed space" and "substantial wall" are different than the State's.

City officials took steps to make the law easier to understand and enforce in June of 2010 when they adopted language suggested by the Department of Commerce. Sadly, the Tavern League seemingly neglected to inform Sheboygan tavern owners of the difference in definitions resulting in several "smoking rooms" that do no comply with the city ordinance. And now the Tavern League is challenging the legality of the ordinance language.

It is important to remember that the most important reason this law went into effect was to protect workers and the public from exposure to secondhand smoke. It is also important to note that no where in the state law, does it say that "smoking rooms" are okay. The technicalities come into play when someone tries to define where you can smoke by reading language that explains where you can't smoke.

I totally agree that several of the definitions in the state law are confusing. And I apologize to all parties involved that a year ago no one really knew what the definitions meant or who was the "all powerful" that could say "Yes, you can smoke in here." That's not the point of the law however. The point is that smoking should be done outside. Public Health doesn't want to say "you can smoke in here" because we don't want anyone smoking "IN" anywhere.

Last week I had the pleasure to accompany a Sheboygan Police Office, City Attorney and two Building Inspectors on visits to 10 different establishments all that had "smoking rooms." Only two had enough open air space in the walls to not meet the city's definition of "enclosed space" therefore, being able to allow smoking. The other eight failed compliance with the city's ordinance and the state law.

We gave tavern owners clear answers about what was allowable and what was not, and answered questions they had. I realize that our answers might not have been what they wanted to hear and that they are frustrated about spending thousand of dollars and countless hours building their "smoking rooms." We are just there to help them comply with the law/ordinance. Sadly these owners had gotten some misinformation a year ago, acted on that misinformation, and now they're questioning everything and pointing fingers. Its unfortunate that trying to protect people's health has come to this, but I'm hopeful that this will turn into something positive after the smoke clears (pardon the pun;-).

The ordinance will be looked at again sometime in June and re:TH!NK will be available to offer assistance as needed. We'll keep you posted.

To read the latest "Sheboygan Press" article regarding the ordinance, click here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking a Punch in the Gut

Wisconsin's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program took a "punch" yesterday to its funding. The state budget committee dramatically changed course by voting to double its cuts to the program. The move was part of a larger omnibus amendment and comes less than two weeks after the committee voted in favor of a modest 10% reduction.

This decision comes with a big price tag. Wisconsin's adult smoking rate is at an all-time low of 20%, with reduced funding this will lead to a higher rate of smokers. Every 1% increase in this smoking rate, results in $641 million in additional long-term health care costs.

Cuts to the program is not what Wisconsin voters want. A poll commissioned earlier this month found an overwhelming 75% of voters support programs aimed at reducing tobacco use (see below post).

Although this "punch" hurts, the fight is NOT over. The budget is still in the early phases of debate and still needs to go through the Senate and Assembly and finally to Gov. Walker's office for signing.

We are in the process of "educating" officials to "re-invest" this money back into the program so that Wisconsinites continue to benefit from the Program now and into the future. It time for our "counter-punch", stay tuned...............

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wisconsin Voters Overwhelmingly Support Tobacco Control !!

Public Opinion Strategies recently completed a survey of 500 likely voters in Wisconsin. The survey was conducted May 4-7, 2011 using landline and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.38%.

When asked if they supported or opposed the legislature's decision to preserve funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, 66% supported preservation of funding for such programs with support cutting across every major sub-group in the poll.

This was not surprising considering 74% of voters expressed concerns about tobacco use among youth and 75% believe funding prevention and cessation programs is important.

When posed with a proposal, "requiring little cigars and candy and fruit flavored tobacco products to be placed behind the counter so they are less accessible to young people", nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) Wisconsinites supported the proposal.

Support continues when it comes to closing the tobacco tax loophole. When asked if they supported or opposed "closing the tobacco tax loophole so candy and fruit flavored tobacco products are taxed at the same rate as cigarettes", 71% supported closing that tax loophole.

There is wide bi-partisan support for an agenda that makes it harder for children to have access to tobacco products, stregthens public health, and helps smokers quit smoking. Clearly, voter continue to support policies that keep tobacco products away from children. That's why the legislature's recent decision to continue funding for important prevention and cessation programs is widely applauded by Wisconsin voters from all political stripes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Michigan sees increase in quitters

Michigan's tobacco cessation program has seen an immediate and sustained increase in current tobacco users seeking help quitting after their statewide smoke-free air law, as reported by the Detroit Press.

Wisconsin can expect to see similar numbers reported from residents utitlizing the WI Tobacco Quit Line. Unfortunately, the Quit Line's funding was drastically cut two years ago, so the services that people need to help the quit are less available.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

JFC voted for 10% cut to program

Joint Finance has voted to accept Gov. Walker’s proposed 10% cut to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

After some discussion of a motion to restore funding in various public health programs, that motion was voted down 4 to 12. The motion to adopt the 10% cut passed on a 15 to 1 vote (Sen. Grothman was the no vote).

We are pleased with the decision of Joint Finance Committee to keep the TPCP funded for 2011-2013 especially in the tough economic climate that WI is facing.

Tobacco Prevention and Control and re:TH!NK has a track-record of success in reducing the burden of tobacco on WI residents. The Committee’s decision to continue funding the program also shows our leaders recognize there is plenty of work to still be done on tobacco control and prevention in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FDA to regulate e-cigarettes as "tobacco products"

FDA will not appeal the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Sottera, Inc. v. Food & Drug Administration, stating that e-cigarettes and other products are not drugs/devices unless they are marketed for therapeutic purposes, but that products “made or derived from tobacco” can be regulated as “tobacco products” under the FD&C Act.

Read an article published by US Today about the court decision

FDA is aware that certain products made or derived from tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes, are not currently subject to pre-market review requirements of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. FDA is developing a strategy to regulate this emerging class of products as tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Products that are marketed for therapeutic purposes will continue to be regulated as drugs and/or devices.

Read the Letter to Stakeholders: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm252360.htm
More information on e-cigarettes: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm172906.htm

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smoke-Free Law Momentum

The CDC released a report last week that all states could be covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws if current momentum is sustained. Click on this link for a story on the report.

The study appears in the April 22 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Wisconsin's workers are healthier because of the state's smoke-free workplace law nad Wisconsin's smoke-free law has had an enormously positive impact in Wisconsin. But we need to make sure these health gains aren't short-lived. It's critically important that the current law remains intact.

Check out rethinklakeshore.org for more info on the positive impacts on Wisconsin's smoke-free air law!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wisconsin teen injured smoking in New York

Last weekend 2 women (age 19 and 20) along with a 19 year old Wisconsinite were hospitalized after smoking AM-HI-CO Atomic Bomb in New York City. The Wisconsinite reamains in intensive care at the hospital.

The product was legally purchased at a tobacco kiosk in the mall for approximately $30. The product is a mixure of herbal compounds, which looks similar to marijuana, and was placed in rolling paper and smoked.

The Wisconsin man was transported by medical personal on Saturday due to effects that police described as being "catatonic and hallucinogenic". The next day, the females used the product and had to call 911 due to reations. One female could speak, but not move her body. The other woman was feeling dizzy and slightly disorientated. They were both transported and later released.

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D) had introduced Bill Number A5008 in 2010 that would have these products included in New York's controlled substances list.

Full article can be read by clicking link below.


Friday, April 15, 2011

MJC Support Shown at JFC Hearing in Neenah

Thank you to everyone that shared information with the Joint Finance Committee in Neenah on Wednesday. re:TH!NK had 2 supporters speak, 4 supporters attend, and 12 partners submit written testimony! To read the full recap, visit www.rethinklakeshore.org.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tobacco CEO Pay and Tobacco Prevention

Did you ever wonder how States' funding for tobacco prevention stack up against pay packages for top tobacco executives?

It's a tale of two payouts!

Total compensation for 5 executives at RJ Reynold, Lorillard, and Marlboro equalled $66.5 million. That is more than any single state (except California) will spend on tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2011. In fact, it's more than the 24 worst states on prevention spend combined.

One CEO received $20.7 million, which was more that 46 states spent on tobacco prevention. For the complete article and a table showing how states rank vs. these payouts check out the link below.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 13 Hearing location changed to Neenah!

If you are interested in attending on behalf of Tobacco Prevention and Control PLEASE CONTACT EMILY at edieringer@co.winnebago.wi.us or 920-232-3021 ASAP!! New Location for Wednesday April 13 JFC Hearing: Neenah High School Auditorium 1275 Tullar Road Neenah, WI 54956 Map to Neenah High School

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Listen Live to the JFC Hearings!

Today's Joint Finance Hearing in Steven's Point is being streamed LIVE today on the web! Click this link to watch and listen. Can't listen/watch? You can follow Wispolitics on Twitter @wispolitics I'm not going to lie, its sort of annoying with the 2 minute bepper going off all the time (concise is the word people) but this is democracy at work! The rest of the hearings are scheduled as follows: Friday, April 8, UW-Superior, 10am-5pm Monday, April 11, WI State Fair Park, 10am-6pm Wednesday, April 13, TBD (Arcadia location will be moved), 10am-6pm

Monday, April 4, 2011

High blood sugar and smoking

Last week, researchers released lab experiments that found nicotine raised blood sugar levels. The more nicotine that was present, the higher the blood sugar levels were. This is particularly bad news for people with diabetes. The biggest point that can't be lost in this study is that nicotine raises the blood sugar levels, not tobacco. What this means is that diabetics who feel they are "smoking healthier", because they are using e-cigarettes, are actually doing more harm for their health. Cessasion experts will find this study useful when it comes to diabetics who look to use nicotine replacement products/therapies for assistance when the time comes to an attempt to quit smoking. The study found that using a nicotine replacement product for a short period of time is alright as long as the goal is to quit. However, extended use of nicotine replacement products as a "smoking supplement" in NOT RECOMMENDED. http://www.ahiphiwire.org/News/Print.aspx?channel=Wellness&doc_id=784508&utm_source=3%2f28%2f2011&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HiWire_Newsletter&uid=TRACK_USER

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Babies show signs of smoking

A new study was released yesterday which compared the effect of smoking and the presence of babies.

Levels of nicotine in the hair of infants who sleep in the same room with parents who smoke are three times higher than in babies who sleep in another room, the study found.

The nicotine is from cigarette smoke particles that impregnate the parents' skin, clothes and hair, which is known as "thirdhand smoke".

The investigators analyzed hair samples from 252 babies younger than 18 months and interviewed their parents about their smoking habits. Seventy-three percent of the parents said they smoked or allowed smoking in their homes, and 83 percent of the babies' hair samples showed high levels of nicotine.

The study also found that cigarette smoke toxins are still present in homes even when parents try to take action to protect their children's health, such as smoking by a window, ventilating bedrooms after smoking, or smoking when the baby is in a different room or not in the house.

The study is published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Joint Finance Committee Hearings Announced

Joint Finance hearings were announced for 4/7 in Stevens Point, 4/8 in Minong, 4/11 in Milwaukee, and 4/13 in Arcadia. Here is a map: http://bit.ly/JointFinance2011 Here is the announcement: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/releases/March11/0325/0325jfchearings.pdf Since there aren't any meetings in close location to any of our MJC counties, we are asking for written testimony by either April 7 or April 11. Letters to the editor are another way to get your story out for people, especially elected officials, to hear. re:TH!NK members interested in submitting written testimony should contact Emily or Jason ASAP. We will be availble to offer assistance in crafting your testimony and will help with submittting it to the JFC and/or your legislators.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Menthol Cigarettes making News

With St. Patrick's Day past us, we are still seeing green in the news. Its the color of menthol cigarettes. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the use of menthol cigarettes is rising among youth and is "very high" among minority adolescents.

A recommendation could be coming from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee about whether menthol flavoring should be banned. The panel's report is due March 23rd.

About 30% of total cigarettes sales come from menthol cigarettes in the United States. Newport brand cigarettes, made by Lorillard Inc, has 90% of company's sales coming from menthol cigarettes.

The tobacco industry claims there is no evidence that menthol in cigarettes makes them more appealing then regular cigarettes.

Some alarming stats involving menthol cigarettes show that 80% of African-American adolescent smokers and more than 50% of Hispanic smokers ages 12-17 use menthol cigarettes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Focusing on Tobacco-related Disparities with WAATPN

The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network's quarterly newsletter is availble!

Due to limited Tobacco Prevention and Control Program funding, efforts to impact disparate populations have taken on a state-wide approach. While the majority of its work focuses on the Milwaukee area, the WAATPN connects with partners and groups from around the state to support African American communities in eliminating tobacco related health disparities and addressing unequal marketing practices of corporate tobacco companies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bartenders' Health Improves after Smoke-Free Air Law

A study released Monday shows Wisconsin bartenders are reaping significant health benefits as a result of the state’s new smoke-free law that went into effect on July 5, 2010. In parallel with reduced exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke while at work, bartenders are reporting feeling healthier.

The study of 531 bartenders – before and after Wisconsin enacted its statewide smoke-free law – shows eight smoking-related upper respiratory health symptoms were reduced by as much as 36 percent. Symptoms included wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing first thing in the morning, and sore throats.

“These symptoms represent immediate health effects that can be easily assessed,” said Dr. Karen Palmersheim, researcher at the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research and lead study author. “More importantly, they serve as precursors of more serious diseases that can develop over time like emphysema, heart disease and cancer.”

A baseline survey was conducted two months before the law went into effect, with a follow-up survey conducted three to six months after the state law. Surveyed bartenders included those working in a large urban city along with bartenders from smaller cities located in more rural counties throughout the state.

The study was limited to bartenders who worked in establishments that allowed smoking before the law and were smoke-free after the law. “These reductions are excellent news for all bar workers in Wisconsin. But they’re also good news for many of the people who enjoy going to bars and restaurants. Everyone benefits from breathing clean air,” Palmersheim said.

This report confirms and amplifies previous studies conducted by Dr. Palmersheim, who studied health effects of Madison’s and Appleton’s smoke-free ordinances. Together, these studies demonstrate reduced secondhand smoke exposure and decreased respiratory symptoms among bartenders after smoke-free workplace mandates are enacted.

“A comprehensive body of research documenting the serious adverse health effects of secondhand smoke provides a powerful rationale for prohibiting smoking in all public places,” Palmersheim said. “The current study offers testimony that Wisconsin’s smoke-free policy is good for the health of bar workers and their customers. And at the end of the day, these policies will save lives and related health care dollars.’’
For more information on the study visit: www.cuir.uwm.edu

Friday, March 11, 2011

Going to the Movies.......

There were no glittering stars getting out of limousines, but there was a red carpet, and there were still winners and losers at the 16th annual Hackadamy Awards, spotlighting 2010's smokiest--and smoke free-- movies and actors.

Teens gave a rating of Thumbs Up! or Thumbs Down! The teens rated some of last year's biggest hit movies, such as "Remember Me" and "Inception" along with some of the actors in those movies.

To check the ratings and learn more about the awards, use the link below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Little Cigars Make News in Minnesota

While WI is fighting budget battles, Minnesota law makers are looking to change a loophole in their definition of "cigarette" in hopes to reach tax equity when it comes to cigarettes vs little cigars.

From an editoral in the Star Tribune:

...The per-pack difference is mainly because cigarettes are subject to a minimum price law in the state and are taxed much more than discount little cigars, which are wrongly classified as "other tobacco products.''

If you put a Marlboro 100 cigarette next to a strawberry-flavored Swisher Sweet little cigar, even hard-core smokers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Little cigars have the same size and shape as cigarettes. They have filters. They commonly come 20 to a package...

Wisconsin's laws are similar, requiring only 71% of the manufactures' retail price to be added to products called "cigars or cigarillos." Cigarettes in WI however, are taxed at $2.52/pack which is just over 100% of the manufactures' retail price.

If the state needs to raise some funds to help in this desparate budget crisis, taxing all tobacco products equally would be a great option.


Monday, March 7, 2011

What do bars think of the Smoke Free Air Law??

After 8 months Wisconsin's smoke free air law has been nothing but positive. Not only can we boast that the law has improved Wisconsin's health, but its helping businesses. Want prove? Checked out the video below. The video is about two minutes long and worth watching.

We can take pride is what we've accomplished, and remain strong in knowing there is more to do.

Great work Wisconsin!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Teens' brains can't handle Smoking

A new study released by UCLA, states that tobacco smoking has a major impact on teens' brains. The study shows that smoking can actually effect a youth's rational decisions regarding their well-being, and that includes their decision to stop smoking.

While studies have linked cigarette smoking to deficits in attention and memory in adults, UCLA wanted to compare brain function in adolescent smokers and non-smokers. Focus was given to the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that guides "executive functions" like decision-making and that is still developing structurally and functionally in adolescents.

Simply put, the greater the addiction the less activity in prefrontal cortex. We must remember that teens are still developing socially and physically and adding tobacco hurts the entire developmental process.

The test consisted of pressing a button when a lighted arrow appears, unless a auditory tone was played then no action was required. This would test the ability to inhibit an action.

We all know the dangers of smoking, yet teens still smoke. In fact, 80% of adult smokers became addicted by the time they were 18 years old. Studies like these are crucial to understanding how we can assist our youth from ever starting to smoke.

To read more about the study, click on the link below.


SmokeFree Wisconsin Becomes Health First Wisconsin to take on additional health issues

re:THNK is thrilled and encouraged that SmokeFree Wisconsin, the organization that lead Wisconsin in its drive to eliminate smoking in workplaces, greatly reduce teen smoking in Wisconsin, and dramatically reduce the impact of tobacco on Wisconsin's health, is expanding its efforts and will work alongside us to combat the deadly addiction promoted by the tobacco industry.

“SmokeFree Wisconsin and their partners have been working hard on tobacco prevention and control for years and have had much success. The unique niche SmokeFree Wisconsin has developed will greatly advance our work on tobacco prevention and control to help individuals make healthy choices in their communities.

“Health First Wisconsin’s prevention-focused mission to promote nutrition and physical activity, combat tobacco use and prevent alcohol abuse will move Wisconsin forward not only by improving the health of those who live, work and play in this state but also by saving Wisconsinites money.”

To learn more about Health First Wisconsin and the issues they will be taking on visit their Web site at healthfirstwi.org. Also, follow them on Twitter, @healthfirstwi, and stay connected on Facebook.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Message about Tobacco Prevention Funding from SmokeFree WI

In response to Governor Scott Walker’s proposed state budget announced Tuesday, Maureen Busalacchi, SmokeFree Wisconsin’s executive director, issued the following statement:

“SmokeFree Wisconsin appreciates Governor Walker’s decision to maintain funding for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program in his proposed budget. We understand the tough economic situation Wisconsin is currently experiencing, however, cancer and respiratory diseases, complications linked to tobacco-use, do not slow down in difficult budget times therefore, continued funding for the Program is absolutely necessary.

“The Program has proven to be a wise and valuable investment for Wisconsin. In the last ten years, the Program worked to successfully cut adult smoking rates by 21 percent, and because of the efforts from the Program and its partners, 50,000 fewer Wisconsin kids are lighting up today. But, emerging products from the Tobacco Industry continue to threaten the health of our youth and our state, thus, it is critical that the Program is able to continue its work.

“The 10 percent cut in funding for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program will make efforts to reduce tobacco-use more challenging, especially in light of the large cuts the Program experienced in 2009. However, without further reductions the Program will continue to be highly effective, preventing death and disease in Wisconsin and saving both public and private sectors health care dollars.

“SmokeFree Wisconsin looks forward to working with the Program on new, innovative ideas to help further reduce tobacco use in our state. This is a Program that produces results, and will continue to do so and we are grateful the leaders of Wisconsin recognize its value.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

New York Raises the Bar

This week Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation into law expanding it Smoke Free Air Act. The law will not allow smoking in the city's 1700 parks, 14 miles of beaches, marinas, and boardwalks. This means that the famous site of Times Square will be smoke free!
Supporters of the ban say that, along with protecting public health, it will reduce the amount of trash in parks and beaches. The measure was overwhelming approved by the City Council.
The mayor hopes that the law will be enforced by the citizens. The law will take effect in 90 days, violations of the law will carry a $50 fine.

An article on the topic can be read by clicking below:


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Funding Tobacco Prevention is Important...and here's why

Tobacco use is STILL the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in Wisconsin. With tight budget times and the state government looking every which way to see where it can save tax payer dollars, tobacco prevention programs are already engaging in saving millions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Healthcare costs directly attributed to smoking were nearly $2.8 billion in WI in 2007.

However, In states with successful tobacco prevention and control programs, like WI, each dollar invested has saved at least $3.60 in tobacco-caused healthcare costs.

Also, since 2000:
  • Middle school smoking has dropped 67%.
  • High school smoking has dropped 46%.
  • Adult smoking has dropped 21%.
  • More than 150,000 calls have been made to the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.
  • Tobacco sales to minors have also decreased 83% since 2001.

Instead of debating for hours on end about what programs should be cut, maybe the state legislature should start talking about what programs to invest in...Tobacco Prevention and Control looks like a good place to start.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Major League Baseball asked to go Tobacco-Free

Two Senators sent a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Bud Selig to ban all tobacco use in baseball, with an emphasis on smokeless products.

Sens. Dick Durbin (IL) and Frank Lautenberg (NJ) are asking Selig to include such a ban during negotiations for a new collective bargaining contract which will be later this year.

Since 1993, tobacco use has been prohibited in MLB, but only in the minor leagues, the big leagues have allowed players to use tobacco during games.

The Senators were motivated when they read a recent artilce written by a fellow major league player. In the article, the player states that he started chewing tobacco because other major league players were doing it and he wanted to be like them. If professional athletes chew, only because their peers do it, what message are we sending our young fans?

With statistics showing that smokeless tobacco use is on the rise with male youth, it's time MLB steps up to the plate and strikes out all tobacco products from the game we love.

Full article can be read below:


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Year's Resolutions.....One Month Later

We all know that the new year brings about change for many. Whether its dieting, excersize, or lifestyle changes. Trying to quit smoking is the number one resolution people attempt, one month into the new year we hope they are still successful.
2011 was no different, except for the tobacco industry. Always looking for new ad compaign, this year they went after those trying to quit. RJ Reynolds launched a national campaign, known as "2011 smoke-free resolution". The ad, which ran in Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illistrated, Time, and US Weekly, stated that Reynolds supports those who have decided to quit tobacco use, "But if you are looking for smoke-free, spit-free, drama-free tobacco pleasure, Camel snus is your answer". The ads are part of Reynolds "take the pleasure switch challenge" which promotes a new Camel snus website. When asked about the "drama-free" reference, Reynolds stated it was in reference to businesses, or other social outlets that have made smoking socially unacceptable.
The full article can be read by clicking the link below.


Monday, January 24, 2011

First Breath Program Helps Pregnant Moms Quit Smoking

In Wisconsin, 15% of pregnant women admit to smoking during pregnancy, 2% more than the national average.

But the First Breath Program, offered by the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF) and administered through prenatal care providers, is helping pregnant women successfully quit smoking. And it recently reached a milestone: Since 2001, 10,000 pregnant women have participated in First Breath with a conservatively estimated quit rate of 35%. This means that 3,500 pregnant women in Wisconsin have quit smoking as a result of the First Breath Program, resulting in healthier moms, healthier babies, and lower health costs to the state. Check out a news story printed last week in the Wisconsin Dells Events.

Wisconsin Medicaid is the prime payer for births in Wisconsin. In 2004, Wisconsin Medicaid paid for 35% (24,664) of the total 70,131 births in our state. And, pregnant Wisconsin Medicaid recipients smoke at a high rate (about 30%). As a result, WWHF’s First Breath Program is helping reduce a powerful driver of Medicaid costs in Wisconsin.
  • First Breath saves $3.00 in healthcare costs for every $1.00 it spends.

  • Since 2001, First Breath has saved almost $3 million in just neonatal health costs.

  • If First Breath succeeds in preventing just two very low birth-weight premature babies each year, those costs savings to Wisconsin Medicaid (approximately $400,000) far exceed the total annual cost of the First Breath Program.

Locally, Beth TenPas, PHN for the Sheboygan County Health Department, was honored at a recent First Breath Conference for her work in enrolling over 250 participants into the First Breath Program. Way to go Beth!

For more information about First Breath, visit http://www.wwhf.org/, click Programs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

WI Receives "A" for Smoke-Free Air

The American Lung Association released the 9th annual State of Tobacco Control 2010 report. Wisconsin finally got an A in the "smoke-free air" category!!!! Thanks to the new smoke free air law, we will receive our first A in the history of the report.

However, WI received an F in both the "tobacco prevention and control funding," and the "cessation coverage" categories.

Prevention advocates know that WI can do better to protect our kids from the deadly addiction of tobacco use and help people quit nicotine, but does the WI State Legislature? Coalitions across the state are working to get the word out right now.

Hopefully we won't lose all the gains we've made in youth use rates because of another budget cut to tobacco prevention and control.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

re:TH!NK meets with Andre Jacque

On Monday, the 17th, members from our coalition in Manitowoc met with Assembly 2 Representative Andre Jacque at Subway in Mishicot. The meeting lasted over an hour, giving us an opportunity to discuss and educate Mr. Jacque about Tobacco Prevention. Topics included SmokeFree Air Law, Addiction, WI Wins, Other Tobacco Products (OTP's), Taxation, Funding, just to name a few. Members included a business owner, ex-smoker, high basketball coach, grant writer, a student along with Emily and Jason. Mr. Jacque was able to see and smell new OTP's and was shocked how many products are out there. He was also surprised to know that tobacco products are taxed at different rates (cigars vs. cigarettes). We also learned from Mr. Jacque, such as, his wife suffers from asthma and his sister was an active volunteer with WI Wins.

More to come about our visit with Andre Jacque in the next e-Update.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kentucky to be the Next Smoke-Free State?

Yes you read that correctly! A bill was recently introduced into the Kentucky State Legislature proposing passing a 100% smoke-free workplace law similar to the one Wisconsin passed and enacted. Kentucky has one of the highest smoking rates in the US; it will be no easy task to get this bill passed, but with nearly 60% of Kentucky residents showing support for the law, the debate will undoubtedly be a good one!

Way to go Kentucky! The air up here in WI is great! We hope you can enjoy smoke-free air soon!


http://tristatehomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=233426 (with news station video)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New e-cigarette regulations

As a result of a federal appeals court decision on Dec. 7th (2010), e-cigarettes may continue to be legally sold in the US under federal law. In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved to establish authority over e-cigarettes as drugs or durg delivery devices by blocking the import of new e-cigarette shipments into the US. In Sottera v. FDA, the court ruled the FDA does not have the authority to continue to block the shipments (D.C. Cir 2010)
The ruling does not necessarily apply to all e-cigarettes on the market. If an e-cigarette company markets its products as a smoking cessation aid, the FDA may still have the authority to regulate it as a drug or drug delivery device.
The FDA could still appeal this decision, however no appeal has been made as of yet.
The full article can be read by clicking below.