Thank you for making this year great!
MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced a decrease in smoking among Wisconsin high school students. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the number of students who reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days dropped to 17 percent – down from 21 percent in 2007.
“Throughout my career, as Attorney General and Governor, I have worked hard to protect our kids from smoking and becoming addicted to tobacco,” Governor Doyle said. “Our efforts to reduce youth smoking are working - from raising the cigarette tax to preventing youth tobacco sales and involving them in our outreach campaigns. When goes Wisconsin’s smokefree in July of 2010 we will further improve public health, save lives and reduce health care costs.”
Just last week I attended a three day training with many of my colleagues in tobacco control on digital storytelling. A small group of us, most of whom have vastly more experience in tobacco control came together to learn how to create digital stories. Nearly of all us told stories about our experiences in this work and shared our stories of how and why we work in tobacco control. Despite all of us telling stories about virtually the same movement, the way we saw it and experienced it were vastly different. Each of us has a story to tell and each story is powerful and meaningful. The training was wonderful and deeply moving to say the least. If you like stories, I highly recommend trying to connect with the wonderful trainers and attending events hosted by these folks.
I wanted to share my story with you so you can learn more about how powerful stories can be. The folks over at tobwis are thinking about ways to utilize story in our work.
I am looking forward to hearing everyone's stories, as I am sure my work will inspire you to speak as well. This is the season to reflect on our values and to share out what those values are.
According to the New York Times article, "Massachusetts began offering virtually free treatments to help poor residents of the state stop smoking in 2006, proponents hoped the new Medicaid program would someday reap benefits. But state officials never expected it would happen so soon.
Today, December 7, 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it will be expanding its tobacco control efforts on the continent of Africa. This is an important step forward for tobacco control for a few reasons. First, according to the WHO projections, "Unchecked [tobacco use], it will kill more than 8 million people per year by 2030, with more than 80 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. Although tobacco use is less prevalent in Africa than in other regions of the world, that will change unless we act," said Ala Alwan.
African Nations appear to be at a critical junction between future increased tobacco use and the health problems associated with it and comprehensive health policies preventing the devastating toll of tobacco. Ala Alwan also said, "Tobacco breeds poverty, killing people in their most productive years. It consumes family and health-care budgets -- money spent on tobacco products is money not spent on such essentials as education, food, and medicine."
While he might discussing the issues related to smoking on the continent, he might as well be talking about what we have seen in the United States and Wisconsin as well. Wisconsin has certainly seen its ups and downs in tobacco control, we are also at a critical juncture with our work in tobacco. Will we continue to allow Big Tobacco to interfere with public health policy? Will we work to end the candy flavored tobacco products? What other steps must we take to reduce our annual burden of tobacco?
It is important to note that while some African countries have implemented smoke-free air policies, many countries have not. With tobacco use on the rise and high rates of exposure to secondhand smoke, the WHO initiative is important for the health of all people on the continent. WHO is planning on opening a regional office and is receiving funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ms. Paula Silha of the La Crosse Area Health Initiative (LAHI) had a great interview with Channel 8 yesterday. This is an great example of garnering earned media attention for a regularly scheduled coalition activity. It was covered by the media because it puts a new spin on a common topic.
Congrats to LAHI for great work on this!
I love the sound bit towards the end...