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, December 27, 2012

Youth Smoking Drops from 17.7% (2010) to 13.1%(2012)

It is great to know our efforts are working! A recent release by the Youth Tobacco Survey in Wisconsin declared that high school smoking went from 17.7% to 13.1%. In 2000, these numbers were at a whopping 32.9%!! Using a comprehensive tobacco control program, we have been able to reduce tobacco use and protect the public from secondhand smoke. Comprehensive programs include different approaches to tobacco control, not just one or few.

Having coalitions like re:TH!NK meet with legislators regarding policy change- such as raising cigarette taxes, FACT (Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco) groups around the state encouraging youth never to begin smoking, and WI Wins programs restricting access of tobacco products to minors all make a huge difference in seeing the decrease in youth and teen smoking. Middle school students rates have also went down-from 3.9% in 2010 to 2.5% in 2012. This can make a world of difference in our future as most smokers (90%) start before the age of 18.

We definitely are on the verge of reducing tobacco's burden on our state, resulting in lower health care costs and healthier people who will not suffer from tobacco-related illnesses!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Study suggests that Smoker's Addiction is Left in DNA

A study suggested at the NCRI Cancer conference thast a smoker's addictoin may leave a mark in their DNA, although the genetic code stays the same. This may allow future findings to measure a smoker's risk for cancer. Researchers found that the DNA of the blood can be tagged chemically as the result of smoking. The tags can be detected in lung tissue, and can be used to find the increased risk of cancers related to lung, bowel and breast.

The tags gradually diminsh as someone quits smoking, according to lead researcher James Flanagan of Imperial College London. The tags are found the surface of the DNA. Although the tags may slowly disappear, the DNA of a former smoker will never exactly match the DNA of a non-smoker-something to always think about! Flanagan said that this will give a better story through their life and how their habit has changed throughout the years.

Dr Jane Cope, director of the NCRI, said: “This reinforces the message that smoking doesn’t just affect the risk of lung cancer, it can increase the risk of more than a dozen different cancers. Smokers lose around a decade of life and, along with many other benefits, giving up will mean the added risk of cancer drops off over time.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

US Court to Appeal Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Products

A court ruling against graphic cigarette labeling has been upheld in the federal government as of last week, giving the Big Tobacco Companies a "win". In June, the FDA unveiled 9 graphic warning ads to be printed on every package of cigarettes sold in the U.S. starting in October. Along with each different advertisement of diseased lungs, a crying baby, a man smoking through a hole in his throat, and others, the toll free number to help people quit smoking was also included to help those that already do smoke or use tobacco products, to find a way to quit.

FDA officials wanted these ads to explicitly focus on the dangers of smoking and to serve as motivation to quit and deter others from starting by seeing these images. In 2009, the FDA was given the authority to regulate tobacco products, and part of that law called for new graphic warnings. The major tobacco companies sued the goverment and said it violated the First Amendment, and got the ads blocked from being printed on their products, for now.

It is by no means the final word though on new cigarette warnings. The labels serve as disclaimers to the public regarding the health consequences of using tobacco products. There are current text-only warnings that are very stale and have gone unnoticed-they haven't been updated since 1984! Because of evidence that large graphic warnings are most effective at informing consumers about health risks of smoking, 43 other countries require large, graphic cigarette warnings.

Companies continue to spend billions of dollars to play down the health risks of smoking and to glamourize tobacco use, especially in youth. These graphic warnings tell the truth about how deadly it is. They will provide powerful incentive for smokers to take life saving steps to quitting and for youth to not even bother to try that first cigarette! "Studies around the world and evidence presented to the FDA also show that large, graphic warnings, like those adopted by the FDA, are most effective at informing consumers about health risks of smoking, discouraging children and other nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit," said Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Health Reform Law Preserves Vital Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

Statement of Matthew L. Myers

President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In upholding the health care reform law, the Supreme Court has preserved essential disease prevention initiatives that will help reduce the staggering health and financial toll of tobacco use. These prevention measures include expanded coverage of treatments to help smokers quit, as well as a new prevention fund to finance proven disease prevention and public health activities in communities across the nation. Preservation of these important prevention initiatives is a victory for the nation’s health and will save lives and save money by reducing health care costs.

The health care reform law requires coverage of smoking cessation and other preventive services without cost sharing, by group health plans and insurers, including those selling within the newly created insurance exchanges. The law also prevents states from excluding smoking-cessation drugs from the medications covered by their Medicaid programs and requires Medicaid to cover smoking-cessation treatments for pregnant women. It also provides incentives for state Medicaid programs to cover all recommended preventive services, including smoking cessation. Even if the Court’s decision to limit the penalties imposed on states that do not comply with the Medicaid expansion in the law leads some states not to participate in the expansion of who is covered, in our view it should not impact the availability of these cessation and tobacco prevention services to those covered by Medicaid under current law.

The law also established a Prevention and Public Health Fund to finance proven community-based prevention programs targeting public health problems such as tobacco use and obesity. Americans spend more than $2 trillion a year to treat disease and manage illnesses, and almost three quarters of that money is spent on caring for people with chronic diseases, many of which we know how to prevent.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing the nation $96 billion in health care expenditures annually. Effective prevention, including smoking-cessation coverage, will save lives, improve health and reduce health care costs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Altria Creates Nicotine Lozenge

Altria Group, Inc., the maker of Marlboro is launching a non-dissolving, nicotine disc called Verve. It won’t contain tobacco, but instead the chewable, mint-flavored disc contains nicotine, which is extracted from tobacco. This is the part that really matters. By not actually containing tobacco, Altria is betting to receive a milder health warning than for a product witch actually contains tobacco.
The Verve disc resembles a cough drop and releases nicotine as a user sucks or crews on it. The disc, made of cellulose and polymer, is thrown away after use. It will be sold in a package of 16 discs and sell for about $3, much less than a pack of cigarettes. Altria will begin selling Verve in Virginia this month.

Most important is how the FDA will respond to regulating this type of product. In 2009, the law granting the FDA authority over tobacco products also authorized the FDA to extend its jurisdiction to “other” tobacco products. In 2010, the FDA announced that they would issue regulations over all tobacco products, but has yet to do so. By taking too long to act, the FDA has given tobacco companies the opportunity to develop and introduce these novel types of products that circumvent the existing laws.

Final word, the FDA must assert jurisdiction over all tobacco and tobacco-derived products. By using their power to review products, restrict marketing and sales to children, require health warnings, mandate the disclosure of contents and prohibit any health claims without FDA review, the FDA will be doing their part in preventing the terrible toll of tobacco use and addiction to nicotine.

Written by guest blogger Kim Hageman

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tax Loophole in Wisconsin Needs Attention

It is common knowledge that tobacco tax increases provide a win-win-win solution for states. Every 10% increase in cigarette prices helps to reduce youth smoking by 7%, offering a health benefit. By increasing cigarette taxes, states enjoy substantial increases in revenue. Finally, the public supports these initiatives. Voters prefer raising tobacco taxes to other tax increases or reducing important education or public safety programs.

What may not be common knowledge is a loophole in Wisconsin law. Did you know some tobacco products are taxed less than cigarettes? Classified as "other tobacco products", these little cigars are functionally cigarettes, but are treated differently. "Other tobacco products" have no state law forcing them to be sold behind the counter. With a range of fruit flavors, they are intentionally made to look and smell like candy, but the truth is these are still dangerous tobacco products.

Last May, pollsters found that nearly 8 in 10 voters favor a behind-the-counter proposal for candy flavored tobacco and 71% want to see all tobacco products taxed the same as cigarettes. We know this will be a win-win-win for Wisconsin, so let’s all support ongoing efforts towards legislative action to close tobacco loopholes.

Written by guest blogger Kim Hageman, author of Surviving Oshkosh

Friday, April 6, 2012

Baseball Season Opens with Historic Limits on Smokeless Tobacco Use

Its opening day for Brewers baseball and I just wanted to remind everyone out there that the 2012 season will be the first ever to be played with restrictions on smokeless tobacco use by big-league players, managers and coaches. This is a huge step in the right direction. Youth look up to these sports stars as role models and the last thing they should see is a big wad of chew in a players mouth.

While these new restrictions are not everything tobacco control advocates hoped for, they do represent significant progress -- if they're enforced.

If you see any player, coach or manager using tobacco at any time during the season, tell the Campagin for Tobacco-Free Kids and their partners by clicking the "Report Use" button at tobaccofreebaseball.org

They have also provided a refresher on what the new contract does and does not do -- just click the website's "Learn More" button. You can also like the movement on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeBaseball or follow the movement on Twitter @tobaccofreeball

Good luck to the Crew today! I'm sure the team will play better being tobacco-free!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Early Indicators Deem CDC Ad Campaign a Success

In the first week of a nationwide CDC ad campaign which depicts graphic images of diseased smokers, more than twice as many people called 1-800-Quit-NOW, then in the week prior to the campaign. The toll- free number received over 33,000 calls, making this the highest call volume ever seen in the seven-year history of the federally sponsored 1-800-QUIT-NOW program. Meanwhile, clicks to the http://www.smokefree.gov/ website went from 20,000 to 66,000, creating the largest jump in traffic ever seen for the website. Although it’s too soon to tell how successful the campaign will be in persuading smokers to quit, the early results are delighting health officials at the CDC. As stated by CDC Director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, “This means tens of thousands of people are seeing the ads and thinking of quitting and trying to quit.”

In Wisconsin, citizens can click on this link for the WI Tobacco Quit Line website http://www.ctri.wisc.edu/quitline.html. Once they have entered the site, they can “click now” to call and speak with a Quit Coach. The website also points to materials, services and information to support them in the quitting process.

Post written by guest blogger Kim Hageman, author of survivingoshkosh.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Graphic Cigarette Warnings and Other Key Provisions of New Tobacco Regulation Law

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its ruling in the case against the FDA law. The Court essentially upheld the ruling of the District Court in January of 2010 that upheld most of the provisions of the FDA law. Today’s ruling, though, also upheld the provision of the law (which the District Court did not) which prohibits tobacco companies from making statements implying a tobacco product is safer because it is regulated by the FDA.
Perhaps the most important part of today’s decision is the affirmation of the constitutionality of the graphic warning label provision of the law. While this is a separate case than in the one in which Judge Richard Leon warning against the warning labels as laid out in the FDA rule on the matter, it still sends an important message on the matter.

To view the press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, click here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

CDC Launches “Tips from Former Smokers” Campaign

Post written by guest blogger Kim Hageman, author of survivingoshkosh.com
On March 15, 2012, the Center for Disease Control’s Office on Smoking and Health launched a groundbreaking campaign to show the long term suffering caused by smoking. Called “Tips from Former Smokers”, the campaign demonstrates what it is like to “live” with the adverse effects of smoking.
Stomas, lung removal, heart attack, limb amputation and paralysis from stroke are just some of the horrible health effects these people have to deal with. Some people who are diagnosed with these life-altering conditions are less than 40 when they began suffering from very real health declines.
On a positive note, the campaign also serves to express that people can quit. By listening to tips from former smokers, the CDC is sending a strong reason to quit, as well as directing people to tools which will help them to succeed. Free resources are available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or going to www.smokefree.gov. While smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, this new campaign will show what life might look like for those who continue to smoke.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/index.htm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tobacco Control Making National News (again)

President Obama's administration is appealing the ruling made last week by a US District Judge to block implementation of graphic warning labels on cigarette packages.

Read more on the FDA appeal story as reported by The Chicago Tribue

This appeal comes on the same day a report was released by The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids that examines the tobacco industry's strategy in partnering with convenience stores.
The report Deadly Alliance: How Big Tobacco and Convenience Stores Partner to Market Tobacco Products and Fight Life-Saving Policies makes several key findings:
  • Convenience stores and other retail outlets have become by far the dominant channel for marketing tobacco products in the United States.
  • Point-of-sale marketing is very effective at reaching kids and influencing them to smoke.
  • Tobacco companies, inhibited by their own negative reputations, have also enlisted convenience stores as front groups to oppose tobacco tax increases and other policies to reduce tobacco use.

 It looks like the fight against the #1 cause of preventable death and disease will continue...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Judge Upholds Ruling to Block Implementation of Graphic Warning Labels

Written by Guest Blogger Kim Hageman, author of Surviving Oshkosh

On February 29th, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon passed a ruling to block the implementation of the FDA's new graphic labels on cigarettes, going into place September 2012. While this ruling will not be the final word on the new graphic labels, it is just another attempt on the part of Big Tobacco to prevent the public from understanding the real dangers presented by the use of tobacco products.  

A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control found that smokers in countries using similar graphic labels, (Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Russia), were more likely to want to quit as a result of the labels.  The labels will be very large, covering half of the cigarette package. Large labels and picture warnings have been proven to be effective in discouraging smoking.

Within the state of Wisconsin, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death. In our state alone, the tobacco industry spends $233 million in marketing to promote their very dangerous products. Nearly 8,000 Wisconsin kids become daily smokers as a result of their effort. It is important to remember this is just one ruling, but it is a part of a continued effort by Big Tobacco to attempt to block the FDA from doing what needs to be done to inform people of the truth about the use of tobacco products.

For more information on this ruling go to:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Round 1 goes to Roll Your Own

Last week Friday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas granted a temporary injunction that will allow for the continued operation of roll-your-own tobacco retail stores in Wisconsin. This injunction prevents Wisconsin's Department of Revenue from following the guidelines they set out to enforce in September. It's unclear what approach the Department of Justice or Department of Revenue might take to challenge this ruling, pursue a legislative solution, or utilize the rule-making process so that continued enforcement might be possible.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Electric cigarette explodes in man's mouth

A gentlemen from Pensacola, FL was using an electronic cigarette, when it exploded in his mouth. The man, use name has not been released, suffered severe burning to his face and loss some of his front teeth.

North Bay Fire Department Division Chief Joseph Parker says it appears the cigarette's battery exploded while the manwas smoking. Parker described it as a bottle rocket going off in the man's mouth. The victim also lost part of his tongue.

Parker added that the man was using the e-cigarette to assist him in quitting smoking. The consumer is being treated in Mobile, Alabama in a burn unit.

There was no mention of what maker or model the electronic cigarette was. The story had no comment from the tobacco industry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Less Smoke Exposure in Teens' Cars, Study Finds

MedPage Today reported this week that fewer teens are inhaling secondhand smoke in cars as efforts continue to limit youth exposure to the potential harms of tobacco, a nationwide survey found.

From 2000 to 2009, the number of adolescents overall who reported riding in cars with someone smoking fell from 48.1 to 29.8 percent, according to Brian A. King, PhD, and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. And during that time, the percentage of nonsmoking teens exposed to secondhand smoke in cars decreased from 39 to 22.8 percent, which was a 71.1 percent change, the researchers reported online ahead of print in the March issue of Pediatrics.

"Nonetheless, in 2009, over one-fifth of nonsmoking students reported [secondhand smoke] exposure in a car in the previous seven days," meaning that continued efforts to limit exposure are needed, they observed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

FDA to Weigh Safety of OTP's

Last week the Food and Drug Administration held a 3 day meeting to discuss the safety and risks associated with "dissolvable" products.

"Dissolvables" are flavored mints, strips and sticks of smokeless tobacco. These products are not stop-smoking aids. Instead, they are designed to allow people to satisfy their cravings for nicotine in places where smoking is banned.

Although not available nationwide....yet, RJ Reynolds is completing test marketing in two cities and Star Scientific markets two products that are available now (Ariva and Stonewall).

These products worry many public health advocates due to risks these products pose to children and teens, whether that's addiction or nicotine poisoning. The risk of accidental ingestion, which results in poisoning, is already on the rise. According to a 2010 study published in Pediatrics, smokeless products are the second most common cause of nicotine poisoning in children....behind cigarettes.

So all eyes are on the FDA. It was the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that gives authority over the manufacture, distribution and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just More Proof

A study released this week from Massachuetts showed that....for every dollar spent in smoking prevention three dollars are saved!! Its always been known that prevention improves health and saves lives, now we can see that it saves money.

George Washington University, who conducted the study, found that members who quit smoking saved three times the cost of the program in fewer heat-related hospitalizations after just over one year. The studey did not take into account the benefits of avoiding cancer or other long-term smoking related illnesses.

The study has some added weight because it's one of just a few that conclude that the state's landmark health care law is making people healthier and saving money. To date there has been a lot of speculation, but very little proof.

For more information about the study, use the link below: