Thursday, April 30, 2009

Smoke-free bill (AB 253) scheduled for public hearing next week!

The smoke-free bill has been officially introduced and assigned a number - Assembly Bill 253 - and will receive a public hearing next week Wednesday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Rm. 412 East of the State Capitol!

Mark your calendar! This is the most important opportunity we will have to show our support for the legislation. Click here to let us know if you'll be attending the public hearing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to Basics: Interactive Human Body Map of Smoking's Effects

Need to brush up on the basic facts about smoking and its effects on the human body? Check out the CDC's interactive human body map, based on the Surgeon General's 2004 Report - The Health Consequences of Smoking. (Flash and html versions available.)

Click below to view the videos!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why telling your personal story to your elected representatives makes a difference...

Because they DO pay attention and you deserve a response!

This image is a copy of the note President Obama wrote in response to Michael Powers's letter about his dad's lung cancer death 30 years ago. Read more about his story and letter at the Chicago Sun Times online.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

E-cigarettes: Harm reduction or just another dangerous product?

A recent call to our office prompted us to look further into the emerging issue of "e-cigarettes."

A group of public health advocates has urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull e-cigarettes (or electronic cigarettes) from sale in the United States.

Right now, e-cigarettes can be purchased in kiosks across the country and on the Internet. The FDA has not approved the use of e-cigarettes and there are no controls to monitor the age of purchasers. E-cigarettes are often made to look like conventional tobacco products and are marketed to kids by producing them in fruit flavors.

A united group of public health advocates, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, sent out a press release commending Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey for demanding that the FDA remove e-cigarettes from the marketplace. FDA officials have been quoted in the past few weeks saying e-cigarettes are a "new drug" that needs to be approved by the government before it can be sold.

An excerpt from the press release:

"Makers and retailers of these products have been making unproven health claims about their products, claiming that they are safer than normal cigarettes and asserting that they can help people to quit smoking. Absent scientific evidence, these claims are in blatant violation of FDA rules."

Check back for updates!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Smoke-free stand-alone bill circulating for co-sponsors

Senators Risser and Ellis and Representatives Richards and A. Ott are circulating a stand-alone smoke-free bill for co-sponsorship today. Deadline for your legislator to sign on is Wednesday of next week.

Ask your legislator to co-sponsor the smoke-free bill here: [no longer active]
UPDATE: Ask your legislator to vote for AB 253 here:

*Note: this does not mean the smoke-free workplaces provision is being removed from the budget - at this point it remains in the budget bill but is now also going through a separate bill process.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

TPCP funding restored!

This just in from the Joint Finance Committee session this evening: Tobacco Prevention and Control Program funding has been restored to its current level of $15.25 million per year. (Vote: 12-4) This is good news for state taxpayers, our next generation of youth in Wisconsin, and tobacco users who need help quitting their addictions.

The program works. It saves taxpayer dollars. The investment is critical.

Our work isn't done, so keep your sleeves rolled up!

Keep Tobacco Control Funding!

Tobacco Prevention and Control Program funding is essential to helping smokers quit and preventing children from starting in the first place.

Smoking cessation funding is critical, especially for smokers with a low income, a mental illness, or addictive disorders.

As it stands, the proposed budget for 2009 - 2011 has a modest cut in Tobacco Prevention and Control Funding. With the national increase in the tobacco tax and the proposed state cigarette tax increase, the financial burden will be heavier on low-income people trying to quit, which makes cessation funding all the more critical.

A policy expert from Mental Health America of Wisconsin sent a memo to the members of the Joint Committee on Finance urging them to reject the cut and maintain current funding to help address the tobacco use disparities among people with mental illness.

DHS: Minorities Suffer Under Tobacco Disproportionately

Likely this afternoon, the legislature's Joint Finance Committee will vote on tobacco prevention and control program funding. In honor of Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the Department of Health Services has evidence why tobacco disparities funding is needed more than ever.

"Lung cancer is still Wisconsin's leading cancer killer and the rates in minority populations are significantly higher," DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake said. "While smoking rates for most racial groups have declined since 1990, the African American smoking rate remains stubbornly high."

According to a new report by the DHS:

  • 30.1 percent of African Americans smoke compared to 18.8 percent for whites
  • From 2001-2005 African American males had an 80 percent higher incidence rate of lung cancer than white males
  • American Indians had the second-highest lung cancer incidence rate
  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate due to the disease, followed by American Indians
The report also offers more evidence that lung cancer and tobacco rates are joined at the hip; tobacco use and exposure are responsible for more than 85 percent of lung cancer cases in the U.S.

Growing group of tavern owners support statewide smoke-free law

Taverns Clearing the Air has nearly 100 members- tavern owners, along with some owners of restaurants, golf courses, lodges, and bowling alleys. They're willing to stand up for our right to breathe clean indoor air!

Some member venues allow smoking, some are nonsmoking because of a local smoke-free ordinance, and some are smoke-free by choice. All Taverns Cearing the Air members share the common goal of a statewide smoke-free law. These forward-thinking business owners join the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association and the Wisconsin Association of Tourism Attractions in support of a statewide smoke-free law.

It's been great to hear the stories from Taverns Clearing the Air members, who say a statewide smoke-free law is the fair and healthy solution for everyone.

Check out this video from WKBT in La Crosse that features a Taverns Clearing the Air member explaining why he supports a statwide smoke-free law.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day from FACT!

FACT, Wisconsin's youth-led Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco movement, is pitching in this Earth Day by cleaning up Big Tobacco's mess in Madison.

After picking up 5,000 cigarette butts in less than an hour, they're now spreading their message about Big Tobacco in front of the state capitol building. We swung by to check out the action - here are some highlights from the info they're handing out:

  • cigarette butts account for millions of pounds of waste
  • toxic chemicals in cigarette butts leak into our precious aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of our water and many aquatic life forms
  • cigarette butts are not biodegradable and take up to 10 years to degrade

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

7,056 and counting!

Last week we asked you to sign the petition for a smoke-free Wisconsin to help us reach our goal of 1,000 signatures in 48 hours. You delivered - above and beyond what we asked!

Thanks in part to YOU, our blog readers, we're at 7,056 new petition signatures and counting! If you haven't already forwarded the petition to your family and friends, help us continue to demonstrate the strong support for a smoke-free Wisconsin by Facebooking, Tweeting, MySpacing, blogging, etc. the petition URL:

Thank you for contributing to our success!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1,000 signatures in 48 hours

Help us get 1,000 smoke-free petition signatures in 48 hours! Sign here:

Monday, April 13, 2009

WI smoke-free workplaces provision to remain in budget

Great news out of the state's biennial budget process: Wisconsin's smoke-free workplaces provision was not placed in a list of "policy" items removed from the biennial budget. Another hurdle cleared on the path to employees state-wide breathing easier.

What does this mean?

It means that the 16-member Joint Finance Committee will debate and vote on the smoke-free workplaces provision over the next several weeks. SmokeFree Wisconsin will continue to provide updates on the progress of this provision. If approved by the committee, the budget (and the smoke-free provision) will come before the legislature for a final vote. SmokeFree hopes to see this happen by mid-June.

The Policy List (items to be removed from the proposed budget) was provided by members of the legislature's JFC last Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

76% voter approval of 3 Wisconsin smoke-free policies

If you live in Appleton, Eau Claire, or Marshfield, you probably already know how happy people are with their smoke-free workplace, restaurant, and bar ordinances.

Three recent polls confirm that Wisconsinites love smoke-free air (76% on average!), and suggest that when Wisconsin goes smoke-free, the law will enjoy popularity in all corners of the state!

Click here to read the poll summary (.pdf).

What's your reason for wanting a smoke-free Wisconsin? Head on over to our smoke-free campaign website and let us know!