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 30, 2014

E-Cigarettes and Wisconsin's Smoke Free Air Law

I recently received a phone call from a woman confused about e-cigarettes. While taking her grandchildren to lunch she noticed people using e-cigarettes inside the building, the same building her grandchildren were eating and playing. She didn’t think e-cigarettes were allowed indoors and after asking the manager, she was told the truth, e-cigarettes are not covered under the Wisconsin Smoke Free Air Law.

So what are e-cigarettes? Whether an e-cigarette looks like a cigarette, a pen, or something completely different, the basic structure remains the same (see photo).

Like traditional cigarettes, the user is not the only person affected by e-cigarette use. The aerosol or “vapor” from e-cigarettes has been found to contain harmful substances like nicotine, propylene glycol, arsenic, aluminum, and lead. Propylene glycol is a known “food grade” substance used to absorb extra water and retain moisture in medicine, cosmetics, and food. While small amounts can be eaten safely, it has not been proven safe when inhaled. Unlike the stomach, lungs do not have acid to break down food and/or chemicals. Most of us can remember accidently inhaling water and the coughing fit that followed. Our bodies know what the lungs need and crave… clean air.

In 2014 Wisconsin reported the lowest smoking rates ever in adults and youth, however, at the same time reports also came in showing a drastic rise in e-cigarette use. Using e-cigarettes indoors re-normalizes smoking. Youth today have never seen a tobacco ad on TV and can barely remember when people could smoke inside public places. E-cigarettes use indoors has the potential to reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use and addiction to nicotine.

E-cigarettes are new, unregulated products and the long term effects of use are still unknown. What we do know is e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is an addictive substance, they give off an aerosol containing harmful substances, and they threaten our ever popular State-wide Smoke Free Air Law.

State prevention experts agree, we need to let scientists and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do more research on e-cigarettes and until we know more, we need to keep e-cigarettes out of public places.


Thursday, December 11, 2014


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hookah is defined as a water pipe. The below picture shows a basic example and the parts of a hookah water pipe. 
(photo from www.cdc.gov)

The tobacco used in hookah is called shisha. Shisha is a moist, sticky tobacco that comes in a variety of flavor. The shisha is heated and burned in the head of the hookah by charcoal. The smoke from the burning shisha and charcoal then travels down the length of the body into the water bowl where the smoke is cooled. A hookah user inhales through the mouthpiece and the cooled smoke travels through the hose and mouth piece into the users lungs.

Because the smoke enters a water bowl before the user inhales people believe smoking hookah is a safe alternative to smoking traditional cigars or cigarettes and the smoke is "filtered" through the water. When in reality the water only cools the smoke, making it easier to inhale.

Smoking hookah is extremely harmful for the lungs. A World Health Organization report showed that about an hour of smoking hookah is as bad for our health as smoking 5 packs of cigarettes (100 cigarettes). And if that isn't scary enough, we've seen a huge increase in the amount of youth and young adults using hookah.

Studies done in the past years have increasing popularity of hookah, 40% of college students have ever smoked hookah. Hookah appeals to young people in a way that is different from traditional tobacco like cigarettes and cigars.

Tobacco Free Florida shared this great, myth busting infographic on hookah smoking based on a survey done by the University of South Florida.

For more information about hookah check out the links below:

The recent articles from Tech Times or Medical Daily

Friday, September 26, 2014

Made in the USA: Child Labor and Tobacco

Dangerous farming equipment, extreme temperatures, exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, very low pay, young kids working 12+ hour days. Sounds like the description of cheap labor on foreign farms that produce as much as they can at the lowest possible cost- despite the impact on the employees.

That is exactly what is happening, only it's NOT foreign.
It's happening right here in the United States.

In Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia U.S. tobacco farms are employing children as young as 12 years old to work on tobacco farms. And all the big tobacco manufacturers and merchants are benefiting from buying the product. Alliance One, Altria (Philip Morris), British American Tobacco, China National Tobacco, Japan Tobacco Group, Lorillard, Philip Morris International, Reynolds American, Universal Corporation.

In an 8-minute documentary by Human Rights Watch (video below) called: US: Child Workers in Danger on Tobacco Farms, the harsh conditions and workers on these tobacco farms are shown.

With good intentions the "made in the U.S.A." movement spreading throughout the country is partially focused on stopping child labor. Instead of buying from other countries, we look for products made in the U.S.A. with a focus on supporting American jobs, the American economy, and saying no to foreign child labor. Unfortunately, exploiting children isn't exclusive to other countries. It's happening right here in the U.S.A.

Big tobacco profits from child labor in US tobacco fields. Take action now:  http://www.hrw.org/ChildFreeTobacco %23ChildFreeTobacco

So what can we do? How can we help?

Watch the documentary. Share the story. Talk with family and friends about the importance of kids being in school. Keep working to reduce tobacco use throughout the U.S.A. and the world. If the demand for tobacco goes away, there will be no need for the supply. Which in turn means there will be no need for cheap labor to produce it (ie. kids).

For more information on the topic take a look at the Human Rights Watch article,
US: Child Workers in Danger on Tobacco Farms | Human Rights Watch. (2014, May 14).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quit Help at CVS Health

Every time I think about CVS making the decision to remove tobacco from the power wall I get a surge of excitement! What a great step towards healthier communities!

Almost a month before the planned day to remove tobacco from shelves at CVS, tobacco disappeared from CVS shelves last week on September 3, 2014.

I have been asked, "what do you think will replace the tobacco products behind the counter?" a few times and was waiting to see what would happen. Would they move other products to fill the space? Magazines? Candy? What would it be like? At my local CVS store and all around the country, the change was incredible. Take a look at the photo I took at the Neenah CVS last week. The perfect replacement of tobacco- quit encouragement and help!

CVS is making a difference in our communities by promoting help to quit smoking and creating a healthier environment. You can spread the word and support CVS in their effort to make a healthier environment. Just grab a piece of paper and write out your #OneGoodReason to stay tobacco free. Take a photo of your reason and share it. Follow #OneGoodReason on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see what other reasons people have to stay tobacco free

Take a look at our FACT youth (Calista, Ally, and Jamie) and advisers (Anna and Brenna) below. There are thousands of reasons to stay tobacco free. What's your #OneGoodReason

Thanks CVS. We are with you. Rock on!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Fun with FACT
and the re:TH!NK Youth Coalition

FACT and the re:TH!NK Youth Coalition has been (and will continue to be) busy this summer! Our foucs has been on tobacco prevention and community education. Check out the photos below to see what we've been up to and how YOU can get involved!

World No Tobacco Day Cigarette Butt Clean Up: Menominee Park

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for 10% of adult deaths worldwide.

May 31 marked World No Tobacco Day 2014. Youth Coalition members decided that a cigarette butt clean up would be a great activity to do on this day. :)

The group met at Menominee Park and picked up cigarette butts and related cigarette litter around Little Oshkosh, the park pathways, boat landings, picnic areas, and along the lake shore by the beach. Pictured below are Ally Molinski, Anna Carpenter (FACT Youth Advisor), Jamie Constantine, and Brenna Root (Youth Coalition Coordinator). Grace Halstead and her mom also helped out but did not make it into the photo. The cigarette butts that were picked up in the park will be added to a display the Youth Coalition will use to educate the community about the importance of tobacco free areas and the environmental impact that cigarette butts have on the environment.

Find out more info about the World Health Organization and World No Tobacco Day across the United States here!

Environmental Scans: A Tobacco Environment Scavenger Hunt

Six youth coalition members took to the streets of Oshkosh and surveyed local convenience stores to find out what types of products the tobacco industry is trying to manipulate youth into buying. The tobacco industry, aka Big Tobacco, spends the majority of their marketing budget in the retail environment to attract new, young users to their products. Youth coalition members did and environmental scan of their community to see how these products are being marketed in Oshkosh. Pictured below are Kaylyn Stanek, Hannah Schacherl, and Branden Udulutch. Ally and Calista Molinski, and Rachel Lee also participated. 

Youth Coalition members found that Big Tobacco companies are placing their deadly products where youth will be exposed to them while shopping at gas stations. One youth member, Ally, was surprised to see the cigarillos in a colorful display right next to the door! Cigarillos are a type of "other tobacco product," OTP, and these products are targeted towards a youth audience with bright colors and fruit flavors. Find out more about Big Tobacco's Manipulicious Products here and play the Spot the Not game with FACT!

Oshkosh Riverwalk Cigarette Butt Clean Up

The re:TH!NK Youth Coalition and FACT teamed up to clean up cigarettes butts along the Oshkosh Riverwalk August. The group picked up cigarette butts and related cigarette litter along Riverwalk. Pictured below are Alex Udulutch, Kiersten Tosch, Sara Matuszak, Ally Molinski, and Jamie Constantine. Brenna Root (Youth Coalition Coordinator) also helped out but did not make it into the photo because she was taking it. :) The cigarette butts that were picked up in the park will be added to a display the Youth Coalition will use to educate the community about the importance of tobacco free areas and the environmental impact that cigarette butts have on the environment. 

More Exciting Upcoming Events!

Pollock Pool FACTivism
Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Youth Coalition Meetings
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
New Moon Cafe, Oshkosh

For more information and if you'd like to get involved with FACT and the re:TH!NK Youth Coalition, contact Brenna Root at broot@co.winnebago.wi.us

Blog written by Brenna Root - originally on http://rethinkwinnebago.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 25, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Thursday (4/24/14) it's plan to extend it's control of tobacco products to include cigars, little cigars, dissolvable products, hookah, and e-cigarettes. The proposed rule would required people purchasing the tobacco product to show a photo ID and would prohibit the sale and purchase of the product to those under 18 as well as create a few other restrictions on the products.

By far the most newsworthy piece of the proposed regulation, e-cigarettes. Most likely if you listened to the morning news, checked a news website or social media page you heard something about the proposed regulation.

Let's run through what this proposed regulation looks like, specifically for e-cigarettes.

1. Current producers of e-cigarettes would be required to provide justification for remaining on the market, provide an ingredient list, and disclose the manufacturing process and scientific data.
2. New e-cigarette producers would be required to get FDA approval before being sold.
3. Selling e-cigarettes to minors would be illegal.
4. Selling e-cigarettes in vending machines in a place kids are allowed would be illegal.
5. Giving away free samples of e-cigarettes would be illegal.
6. E-cigarettes would have a warning label stating they contain nicotine, which is addictive.
7. E-cigarette manufacturers would be able to claim that their product provides reduced risk IF the FDA confirms scientific evidence supporting the claim, and confirms marketing the product will benefit public health.

Whew. That is a lot to take in. So, the FDA has proposed these new regulations and will be accepting public comment for 75 days, starting today (4/25/14). If you have thoughts on this issue I encourage you to be part of the process by submitting a comment to the FDA. We'll get more information posted once we have it.

For more information on the proposed ruling check out the information below.

FDA Press Release
FDA Proposed Regulation
New York Times
ABC News Video
NPR Blog

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kick Butts Day!

One of the best days in March has arrived! Today is Kick Butts Day! 

Kick Butts Day is a day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

While tobacco prevention efforts have made great strides in the fight against tobacco, every day, more than 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time and 700 kids become new regular, daily smokers. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people every year.

On Kick Butts Day, youth throughout the U.S. raise awareness about the tobacco problem, encourage peers to be tobacco-free, and support effective solutions to reduce tobacco use.

Some of re:TH!NK's very own youth in the Winnebago FACT group made a huge impact at a local middle school in Oshkosh. The group created a display board with 2 FACTs about tobacco and had their classmates vote for which FACT they thought was the ugliest truth. 

The FACTs they chose: 

1. Urea is found in cat pee, it is also found in cigarettes.
2. Methane is found in dog poop, it is also found in cigarette smoke.

At the end of lunch the FACT group counted up the votes and (drum roll please...) here are the results!

80 votes for urea in cat pee


117 votes for methane in dog poop 

Students found the FACT that methane is in dog poop and cigarette smoke more disgusting than the FACT that urea is in cat pee and in cigarettes. And the general consensus of the group is that both FACTs were super disgusting!

The event was a huge success! Students, teachers, and staff were all interested and involved. Thanks to the Winnebago FACT crew, Ms. K, and all those at Perry Tipler Middle School. Happy Kick Butts Day. Rock on!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General's Historic Report

On January 11, 1964, the Surgeon General pronounced the health risks posed by cigarettes.
Fifty years ago tobacco ads featuring Fred Flintstone, athletes, and movie starts could be found all over in magazines and on TV. Smoke hung in the air of restaurants, bars, teachers lounges, offices, and airplane cabins. And there'd be a good chance that your family doctor was a smoker too. It's amazing how much we have learned in 50 years about the harms of tobacco products and smoking.
The turning point for tobacco prevention came on January 11, 1964 with the Surgeon General's Report. That Saturday morning, the U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released the official report linking smoking to illness and death - and suggesting the government should do something about it. 

In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised, and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up. 

Wisconsin has seen great progress in reducing tobacco’s burden.

  • High school smoking dropped from 33% in 2000 to an all-time low 13% in 2012
  • Wisconsin is healthier since the smoke-free law took effect in 2010
  • Since the smoke-free air law, bars and restaurants saw a decrease in unhealthy air, bartenders experience a decrease in respiratory health symptoms
  • The number of smoke-free homes in Wisconsin also increased from 74% to 80%
  • The state’s Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line has fielded more than 200,000 calls

While great strides in tobacco prevention have been made over the last 50 years, tobacco's still a problem in Wisconsin, so we need to stay committed. More than 800,000 Wisconsinites are still smoking, and smoking kills more than 7,000 adults in Wisconsin each year. 

In order to prevent and reduce deaths from tobacco we need to reduce the amount of youth who start using tobacco. Each day about 14 Wisconsin kids become new smokers. Candy and fruit-flavored tobacco products that are more affordable are attracting the attention of our young people. 

Looking like candy, gum, and other products that appeal to youth these products have become much more popular among youth. A new CDC study found that nationally, 40% of youth smokers use flavored little cigars or cigarettes. 

These other tobacco products (OTPs) are harmful and addictive, plus they're marketed aggressively to youth and are inexpensive. The products hook youth early and keep them addicted. The candy and fruit-flavors disguise the tobacco underneath. But using any tobacco product has serious health risks, even if it is coated in candy flavors. OTPs are not safe, not fair, and not good for Wisconsin.

The blog post used info from this USA Today article for more info on the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon Generals Report.