Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They Killed 8000

The FACT Movement ( kicked off a new campaign on Apr. 21 called "They Killed 8000." The 2-month campaign includes a TV commercial, MySpace ad and local youth activism. The focus of the campaign is to draw attention to the devastation the tobacco industry causes Wisconsin. 8000 Wisconsin residents die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. FACT is out to spread that message and to empower WI teens to fight back with FACT.

Below is a blog posting from Matthew M., one of the youth featured in the "They Killed 8000" TV commercial. Matthew is a 17-year old junior at Eau Claire Memorial and serves on the FACT Youth Board of Directors.

It seems ages ago (August 2007 to be exact) that I was at the FACT FINAL CHALLENGE in Madison that brought together 16 FACT members to help brainstorm ideas for the new "They Killed 8000" campaign. The FINAL CHALLENGE was perhaps the best FACT experience I've ever had, and one of the best times of my entire life. I met some amazing people, and made what I'm sure will be lifelong friends. In just two days, we managed to vote on one final idea, planned it out, created activisms and some street marketing messaging for the campaign.

Once the campaign theme and actions were created and decided on, the next step was the filming of the TV commercial.

One of the pivotal parts of the media campaign is the TV Spot. Let me set the scene for you: It's an eerie, desolate town filled with evidence markers showing where Big Tobacco struck, with five teens surviving, causing an uprising against Big Tobacco, and starting to recruit around the state for their cause.

When I found out that FACT was casting for a spot in this ad, I jumped at the opportunity and submitted an audition video. Four other FACT members and I were selected to star in the commercial. Oh yeah, by the way, the one talking to the camera, that’s me.

This campaign is much greater than a TV commercial. 36 FACT groups around the state will be engaged in FACT activism or FACTivism (cool word, eh?). These groups will be doing some cool things to spread the message about FACT and "They Killed 8000."

So why do I lend my voice to FACT and to this campaign? Two words: Big Tobacco! Big Tobacco companies such as Altria and Reynolds American - they're the bad guys. They're the ones I'm out to get. They're targeting me so I think it's only fair I target them.

Not only do they target me and other teens, but Big Tobacco knows their products kill people. Any business with any morals would pull their product if they knew they're killing people. Not Big Tobacco. They just want more and more money. That's why we launched the "They Killed 8000" campaign. We need to hold Big Tobacco accountable for the death and disease they spread throughout Wisconsin.



We're going to Fight with FACT.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hallelujah! No Smoking in Atlantic City Casinos

As of October 15, 2008, smoking will no longer be permitted on any of the 11 Atlantic City casinos' gambling floors! The City Council voted 9-0 to finally complete the comprehensive statewide smoke-free law after a yearlong battle.

Perhaps the greatest winners in this battle are the employees who no longer have to endure life-threatening smoke in order to earn a living. The Chicago Tribune quoted Mayor Scott Evans saying, "We're going to save lives with this." He's right.

Here's one casino employee's story:
Marybeth Litchholt, a dealer for 21 years at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, said it's about time that casino workers' health is as valued as those of other workers in New Jersey.

"Because of cigarette smoke, I have sinus problems," she said. "There are times when I'm working in the smoking section when I'm short of breath. You can just feel it in your lungs."

Congratulations, New Jersey!

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE

Monday, April 21, 2008

Drunk driving in Wisconsin decreases

Some of you have been asking us about a recently released paper that claims a connection between smoke-free ordinances and drunk driving. There is a lot of data we still need to study to see if that theory really bears out, but we do know that Wisconsin was not included in this study. And, here is some good news: alcohol-related injuries are down in the state of Wisconsin as a whole; specifically, Dane County and the City of Madison (where there is a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance) have experienced significant decreases compared to the state average since 2005 (when Madison's ordinance went into effect). Shown in the graph below, injuries due to drunk driving since 2005 have decreased by over 6% in Wisconsin and by 9% in both Dane County and Madison.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Iowa becomes #24

Iowa's smoke-free law was finally hammered out and approved by both houses of their Legislature today. Iowa governor Chet Culver has committed to signing it into law. Iowa's smoke-free law will take effect this July 1st.

That makes them Number 24 to pass a strong smoke-free law that includes all restaurants and bars.

Congrats to our fellow smoke-free supporters to the southwest!

P.S. Another congrats is in order tonight for Kansas City, MO, where smoke-free advocates just passed a ballot initiative that is similar to our recent victory in Marshfield!

New smoke-free poll for WI! 69% of voters want a strong smoke-free law now

Today the It's Time... to breathe free Coalition released a new poll showing growing support for a strong smoke-free law for Wisconsin. The poll found 69% of Wisconsin voters support a strong smoke-free law that includes all restaurants and bars.

Click on the poll image below to view more detailed results!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Smoke-free Fitchburg celebration

Thanks to Ryan S. for these great pics of our celebration in smoke-free Fitchburg on Tuesday evening! Kelly's Grille was packed - they even started running out of ingredients because they hadn't expected such a big crowd!

Fitchburg's ordinance went into effect on Tuesday without a hitch. Congratulations to Smoke-free Fitchburg members, the city, and the Chamber of Commerce who all worked together to plan for the big day. You can read some of the news stories about Fitchburg going smoke-free here:
Cap Times coverage
NBC Channel 15 coverage
CBS Channel 3 coverage

We're going to keep the party going all summer - so come join us and support Fitchburg's smoke-free businesses! You can view our smoke-free celebration schedule at under "Events."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kick Butts Day

Today is Kick Butts Day - a chance for youth across the country and here in Wisconsin to take the lead in the fight against Big Tobacco. For more information about Kick Butts Day and what Wisconsin youth are doing today to shed light on Big Tobacco's lies and deceit, click here.

Youth are primary targets of Big Tobacco's misleading advertising. Almost 90% of adult regular smokers were already addicted to cigarettes by the time they turned 18. Here in Wisconsin the FACT movement has empowered middle and high school youth to fight back against Big Tobacco by exposing the industry's dirty tricks. One of the cool things about FACT is that they don't focus or place blame on smokers, but instead spend their efforts exposing the tobacco companies who court and addict youth through magazine ads, product placement, concert sponsorships, and illegal sales.

So, just like their motto goes, "fight with fact!" and happy Kick Butts Day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BIG win in Marshfield

64% of Marshfield voters cast their votes for a strong smoke-free law for Marshfield that will make all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. Click here to read the Marshfield News-Herald's coverage of the vote.

CONGRATULATIONS to our amazing grassroots supporters in Marshfield and all the folks who volunteered their time for the campaign! What a huge victory!

Why YOU should vote today

If you're 18 or older you should go vote today. Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Many local offices - city council, mayor, county board - are on the ballot today. Since SB 150 didn't pass at the statewide level, local governments will be key targets of smoke-free air campaigns between now and the next state legislative session. Our success in those local campaigns will depend on our grassroots supporters' engagement in their communities' political scenes. Your power as a constituent of these local elected officials is magnified if you vote - candidates and local office holders are acutely aware of who participates in their elections.

If you're not sure where to vote, try calling your municipal clerk's office or visiting the WI Government Accountability Board (formerly the Elections Board) polling place webpage here.