Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still didn't vote?

The deadline is tonight at Midnight to make SmokeFree Wisconsin the winner in the Annual
Getting Attention! Blog Non-Profit Tagline Awards 2009
Make you sure you vote RIGHT NOW!

Take just two minutes and vote for us in the tagline awards! You can vote for all of the organizations or just us... Either way make sure  you vote before time runs out tonight at Midnight!

CLICK HERE to vote for SmokeFree Wisconsin

Fire-Safe Cigarettes coming to Wisconsin October 1st

In April of 2008 Governor Doyle signed a bill that will require all cigarettes sold in the state of Wisconsin to be compliant with fire-safe cigarette (FSC) regulations by October 1st of 2009. With that date just around the corner, SFW wanted to remind our readers of this change.

The main organization that is pushing for this type of regulation is the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. Their mission is to, "work to save lives and prevent injuries and devastation from cigarette-ignited fires." They are primarily supported by the National Fire Protection Association. Many public health, public safety, fire service workers, and consumer rights groups support the efforts of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.  (To read more about this group CLICK HERE.)

You might ask... What is a fire-safe cigarette? 
A fire-safe cigarette has a reduced propensity to continue to burn if left unattended. The typical design has two bands that will self-extinguish if the cigarette is left burning in an ashtray for too long.

A few important things to keep in mind:
  • Burning cigarettes are a leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States, killing 700-900 people annually. 
  • Mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, and trash are the items most commonly ignited in smoking-material home fires. The risk can be greatly reduced or eliminated with legislation ensuring fire-safe cigarettes are the standard.
  • FSCs are a growing trend here in the United States and something that Big Tobacco has  willingly responded to. 99.8% of the US population is, or soon will be covered to see the map CLICK HERE.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did you vote yet?

The deadline for the Tagline Awards is quickly approaching! Make you sure you vote for SmokeFree Wisconsin in the health and sciences category!

Take just two minutes and vote for us in the tagline awards! You can vote for all of the organizations or just us... Either way make sure  you vote before time runs out.

CLICK HERE to vote for SmokeFree Wisconsin

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Forget to VOTE!

Do you want make us winners? That is... recipients of an important award such as the Annual Getting Attention! Blog Non-Profit Tagline Awards 2009 Winner????? The deadline for the Tagline Awards is quickly approaching! Make you sure you vote for SmokeFree Wisconsin in the health and sciences category!

Take just two minutes and vote for us in the tagline awards! You can vote for all of the organizations or just us... Either way make sure  you vote before time runs out.

CLICK HERE to vote for SmokeFree Wisconsin

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Smoke-free policies cut heart attack rates by one third

On Tuesday September 22, researchers from University of California San Francisco released a report on smoke-free laws reducing heart attacks, sometimes at rates more than one-third. This research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that comprehensive smoke-free policies contribute to public health by reducing the number of heart attacks in places where the policies have been implemented. This particular study pooled the data from thirteen studies and found that heart attacks can be reduced by 17% in the first year and by up to 36% in three years.

To read the full Reuters Article CLICK HERE. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parks: Should they be smoke-free?

That is the question that New York City is asking right now. According to a New York Times article earlier this month, the city's health commissioner is seeking to eliminate smoking outdoors in parks and beaches. While Wisconsin seriously lags behind its efforts to protect people from indoor secondhand smoke, we do have one municipality that has moved forward in creating smoke-free parks, namely Verona. While smoke-free parks and beaches have some issue when it comes to enforcement, the public health impact is unclear.

California is a leader in the are of smoke-free parks and beaches and Chicago has also made some steps towards protecting people from secondhand smoke in recreational areas.
As with any new change in regulation criticism comes with a heavy hand. Here at SmokeFree Wisconsin we know that secondhand smoke is dangerous that there is no level of safe exposure, not even at a park or beach.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Congratulations to Choice Hotels International

Congratulations to Choice Hotels international for opening a branch of thei hotel chain, Cambria Suites in Madison 100% smoke-free. The hotel chain lists being smoke-free among some of its other amenities such as luxury linens and the latest technology.

Choice Hotels is joining the growing trend of major hotel chains going voluntarily smoke-free. They join Marriott International who implemented a smoke-free policy in 2006. To read more about what other hotel owners, managers, and employees are saying visit our national partner Americans for Non-Smoker's Rights.

FACT is back and in action!

On August 31st the La Crosse FACT group wasted no time getting into gear this school year.  The youth created a Human Billboard in downtown La Crosse in support of the new cigarette tax in Wisconsin. 

The Human Billboard read: 75 cents equals 33-thousand teens spared from Big Tobacco.
Not only did community members driving by see the youth holding these signs but so did those watching the nightly news. Two of the group’s members were interviewed by News Channel 8 about why the tax increase is important to Wisconsin’s youth.

Check out the online article and video interview!  

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FDA: No more candy flavored cigarettes

Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter to  the tobacco industry, manufacturers, and distributors. Specifically the letter states, 
"The FSPTCA provides FDA with regulatory authority over the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. Specifically, section 907(a)(1)(A) of the Act, as amended by the FSPTCA, establishes a tobacco product standard special rule for cigarettes that states in part:
…a cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.
This standard applies to all tobacco products that meet the definition of a “cigarette” in section 900(3) of the Act even if they are not labeled as “cigarettes” or are labeled as cigars or as some other product."
More below the break

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tobacco-Free Families Update

On August 18, 2009 Reps. Reps. Smith, Pasch, Benedict, Richards, Black, Hebl, Hixson, Hilgenberg, Berceau, Parisi, Mason, Soletski, Turner, Young, Roys, Shilling, Pope-Roberts, Clark, Sinicki, Zigmunt, Townsend and Spanbauer, along with their colleagues in the Senate: Sens. Risser, Robson and Lehman introduced the Tobacco Free Families Bill.(For more back ground on the bill see our website)

AB 381 was referred to the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC).

A hearing is not required for a bill referred to JFC.

In order to move towards passage, the Tobacco-Free Families Bill must clear an Executive Session of the JFC.

To track this bill CLICK HERE 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Smoke-Free Gaming Efforts

An issue that came up quite a bit in the debate around Wisconsin's own statewide smoke-free workplaces law was casinos, specifically tribal casinos. Given the fact that the Wisconsin state government does not have the regulatory authority to address the issue of smoking within tribal casinos, there are still thousands of workers who are not going to be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke. This is an issue not just in Wisconsin but in nearly every state that allows gaming, whether it is state-run or tribal- run. 

Like in some areas in Wisconsin, many states have areas in which gaming facilities are the single largest employers. Employers who have very large numbers of employees ought to provide safe, healthy environments for their workers. Part of that healthy work environment includes providing smoke-free facilities. Just as the sciences is clear on secondhand smoke so is the fact that 4 out of 5 casino patrons do NOT smoke. Click here for more background information on smoke-free gaming.
Recently in Indiana an opinion peice highlighted the great lengths the gaming industry would go to avoid having to provide safe, smoke-free workplaces to their employees. Casino lobbying expenses were close to $3.6 million dollars in Indiana alone. As the Americans for Non-Smoker's Rights Foundation points out there are nearly 17,000 workers in Indiana's casinos who are not protected from the hazards of secondhand smoke. The article concludes by saying, "Proponents of smoke-free workplaces have two options: Tighten campaign finance laws, or elect those committed to smoke-free workplace legislation."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Light, Low, Mild a thing of the past

Light, low, mild, and other descriptors have long been a Big Tobacco marketing gimmick to define their products.  Some customers believe they are doing themselves a favor by smoking a light or low tar product. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The FDA regulation of tobacco seeks to protect consumers from the lies and myths of an industry that has been unregulated for far too long. Light does not mean a safer cigarette! Behind all that marketing and branding is the same cancer causing substances found in regular cigarettes. There is also evidence that Big Tobacco puts additional chemicals into light cigarettes to make them "smoother" or to hind the harsh-ness of the smoke.

Twelve months after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, tobacco manufacturers and others will be prohibited from using descriptors, such as "light", "mild", "low" or "other similar descriptors" in the label, labeling or advertising of tobacco products without an order from the FDA because of the scientific evidence that these products do not reduce the risk of disease. 

Earlier a letter was submitted to the FDA by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Legacy Foundation, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids alerting the FDA of possible industry efforts to get around the ban. (To learn more CLICK HERE)
If you see evidence of these efforts in your community, comments can be submitted to the FDA on this and other issues at 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tobacco Harvest in Wisconsin

With September in full swing Wisconsin is harvesting its bounty of healthful plants like tomatoes, corn, squash, and soybeans. This is also the time that Wisconsin harvests its tobacco. While tobacco is not a huge portion of the agricultural base in Wisconsin, it lags behind dairy production significantly. Many farmers grow and harvest tobacco as a portion of their harvest bounty but also include more common mid-western crops like corn. 
Tobacco is a highly profitable crop and yields more dollars per acre than many other crops that thrive in the Wisconsin growing season. Wisconsin is not a producer of tobacco for cigarettes, but rather for spit and cigar wrappers. 
Despite it being a good year for tobacco growth here in Wisconsin, SFW has worked tirelessly to fight back against Big Tobacco with its devastating toll of addiction and health problems. It is unclear how tobacco taxes will affect local farmers here in Wisconsin, but its clear- tobacco farming is a thing of the past- no matter the growing conditions.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Madison is soon to be home to the National Summit on Smokeless and Spit Tobacco

Later this month, Madison will be the host of the 5th National Summit on Smokeless and Spit Tobacco. This is an exciting conference that will provide all the cutting edge information about smokeless and spit tobacco products. Below are just a few of the reasons you might want to attend:

1. This is the only national conference designed specifically to provide cutting-edge information and proven resources to fight against and reduce the use of smokeless tobacco products, a serious general and oral health threat to its users. Even with the promise of FDA regulation, smokeless tobacco will continue to be sold and cause disease in unsuspecting consumers. Get the latest information about what FDA regulation means.

2. More and more states and municipalities are going smoke-free. Big Tobacco has a plan in place. What's yours? Come gather with colleagues from across the US to find out what they're doing, and you can get started (or fine-tune) putting your plan into action.

3. How are youth impacted by Tobacco Industry marketing? Learn how young people around the country are fighting back!

4. Is smokeless tobacco really a safe alternative to cigarettes? Are these products helping smokers quit, or are we simply seeing more dual usage? At this conference you will hear about the latest research in smokeless tobacco and you'll learn what we need to say to the public about this growing health threat.

5. Many new smokeless tobacco products have recently been introduced into the market, constituting a new generation of nicotine delivery systems designed to appeal to a new generation of users. Do you know what these products are? Do you know how the industry is marketing these products, and to whom? This conference will enable you to answer these questions and be more effective in your your fight against these dangerous products.

6. Many people in your community think smokeless tobacco products are harmless. Do you know how to educate them about the truth? Come learn how.

Check out the website for full details!

It's Quittin' time according to a Public News Service Article

Excellant article from the Public News Service on smoking cessation in Wisconsin. 
"For those in Wisconsin looking for reasons to quit smoking, there are two new ones that are prompting people to stub the habit. The American Lung Association in Wisconsin says a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax that took effect this month, along with new laws to ban smoking in public places statewide, are driving new traffic to quit lines and Web sites."

To read the full article CLICK HERE

Monday, September 14, 2009

Congratulations to Washington State

Washington state is a leader in tobacco control in many ways. They have been smoke-free since December 8, 2005, nearly five years before Wisconsin. Washingtonians have been breathing easier, indoor air quality has improved, and there has been a very high compliance rate (over 90%).

Recently, Washington state has been in the media about its very low smoking rate, with a rate 15.3% for adult smokers. They are significantly before the national average at 18.4%. Washington state has the sixth lowest rate of smoking in the United States. SmokeFree Wisconsin tips its hat to Washington state. To read the full release on the smoking rates CLICK HERE.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Are you smober yet?

The question are you smober at first seems like there might be a typo. In truth the question means are you clean and sober from drugs and/or alcohol AND tobacco free. Nationally as well as in Wisconsin there is progress being made in the area of addressing co-addictions (alcohol and/or other drugs and nicotine) and mental health issues in current smokers. See Wisconsin's own WiNTiP program for more details: Click here for WiNTiP

Science Daily's Article "Doctors fear asking mentally ill to quit" might bring attention to a vulnerable population who could also be helped by the increase in price of cigarettes this month. "People with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are the heaviest smokers in the country, but their doctors are afraid to ask them to quit," the article states. It continues to say, "They assume that if their patients try to quit smoking, their mental disorders will get worse." (To read the full article and to understand the myth some doctor's believe CLICK HERE.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Avis certainly is trying harder!

Avis certainly is trying harder to please its customers by offering 100% smoke-free vehicles in its full line of rental cars and trucks. Congratulations to Avis for taking a step in the right direction for their customer's health.

To see the full Avis statement: Click Here.

Click here for the LA Times article.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RJ Reynolds and others sue to stop new FDA regulations of tobacco

As expected R. J. Reynolds (makers of Camel and Winston) joined Lorillard (makers of Newport) and others to file a federal law suit in hopes to block the new FDA regulations. Of course Big Tobacco wants to prevent FDA regulation implementation! Their main opposition is to the advertising restrictions. The new federal law seeks to eliminate all the sophisticated marketing and branding Big Tobacco is known for.

See the Washington Post article for full details:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

KARE 11's coverage of the new Cigarette Tax

Along I-94 in Hudson, the Freedom gas station is a convenient stop for many. Ron Campbell has been the manager for 20 years.

Tuesday morning, he saw his regular customers, but many of them passed on their regular purchase.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More media coverage about the tax!

Wausau Daily Herald Article

Sheboygan Press Article

SmokeFree Wisconsin Encourages Wisconsinites to Celebrate New Year's in September Reason #10

As part of SmokeFree Wisconsin’s countdown to September 1st’s increase in the cigarette and tobacco taxes we are highlighting a reason to use September 1st as an opportunity to quit smoking and using tobacco and informing Wisconsinites of a resource that is available to assist them in their resolution to quit.

Today’s reason and resource are:


Quitting smoking is beneficial at all ages, and the earlier in life one quits, the greater the benefits. People who quit smoking cut their risk of lung cancer by 30% to 50% after 10 years compared to continuing smokers, and cut their risk of oral and esophageal cancer in half within 5 years after quitting.



The “Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids” website provides many helpful resources to help you quit smoking.

The “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids” is a leader in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences in the United States and around the world. By changing public attitudes and public policies on tobacco, we strive to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.
For more information about quitting, please CLICK HERE!