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, September 29, 2015


Halloween is just around the corner and while scary pumpkins, costumes, and horror movies are sure to generate scares, there's a new trend that's even more terrifying: our young people are increasingly turning to new types of tobacco and nicotine products.

Wisconsin's teen smoking rates are currently at all-time lows, and that's news to celebrate! Unfortunately, as high school smoking rates hit lows of 11%, more teens are trying e-cigarettes (or vape pens) than ever before. The Wisconsin high school e-cigarette use rate is at 8%, according to the 2014 Wisconsin Youth Tobacco Survey.

Even more disturbing, a recent study out of Connecticut published in the Medical Journal of Pediatrics showed an estimated 18.7% of the 4,000 Connecticut youth surveyed had used e-cigarettes (or vape pens) to "vaporize" cannabis. More teens using marijuana in any form is a trend no parent, guardian, teacher, health care provider, etc. wants to see. Check out this radio interview and listen to the discussion.

There is little wonder why these products are attracting younger users, since many of them are trendy, electronic, and featuring kid-friendly flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy.

Partners throughout the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network and members of our FACT groups have surveyed tobacco and nicotine products in counties in the MJC (Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Winnebago counties). The results of the surveys found products ranging from little flavored cigars, chewing tobacco, and snus to e-cigarettes (or vape pens) and e-cigarette juices. All the products could be found in candy-like flavors.

Thankfully, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network and coalitions all around Wisconsin are out in the community working to help our kids avoid the frightful fate of tobacco and nicotine addiction. Stay in touch with the recent happenings in tobacco prevention by following our Facebook page!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Take me out to the ball game!

Summertime and baseball go together like peanuts and popcorn! As this summer comes to a close, we can reflect on big changes happening at baseball parks from coast to coast. In Boston, San Francisco, and most recently Los Angeles, tobacco has been knocked out of the ballparks.

Data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that while the use of combustible tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes has dropped significantly from 2001-2013 in high school students, the use of smokeless tobacco like chew and snus has remained unchanged among non-athletes and has increased among high school athletes.

Athletes may be more likely to use certain tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco, specifically if they perceive them to be harmless. This highlights the need for greater tobacco education programs, including smokeless tobacco, among youth. Just about any young person you ask will say people shouldn't smoke... unfortunately, smokeless tobacco seems harmless to many, youth and adults a like. And when our favorite childhood athletes are using tobacco, we still look up to them and want to be just like them.

Taking tobacco out of baseball is a great way to get the word out to young people that tobacco is harmful, in any form. Curt Schilling, baseball great, has been a huge advocate for tobacco prevention since being diagnosed with cancer after struggling with an addiction to chewing tobacco for years. He wrote and shared a Letter to My Younger Self about his life and how it could be different if at 16 he did not become addicted to tobacco. One of the many lines that stand out,
"You will get message after message, but your addiction will always win, until it wins the biggest battle... It's difficult for you to understand in this current phase of your life, but by chewing tobacco, you are jeopardizing your participation in what will be some of the your most important moments."
It's stories like Curt's and many others that repeat the importance of keeping tobacco products out of sports. Young people look up to athletes whether they know it or not. By keeping sports tobacco free we can prevent so many young athletes from becoming addicted to tobacco.

From the east to the west coast we've seen tobacco knocked out of parks. As more and more parks do the same, hopefully we will see the number of student athletes using tobacco decline once and for all.