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.

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.”