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.
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.