Monday, January 25, 2010

We want to hear from YOU!

We are conducting a survey to see what issues our readers are most interested in taking action on.

Please share your thoughts with us by clicking the link below:

Thanks for your time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shame on Dane County

Shame on Dane County for weakening a strong ordinance which protected all of its residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Shame on a business seeking an exemption to unlevel the playing field for all businesses. All niche businesses could be subject to an exemption based on this type of thinking.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Judge overrules FDA on e-cigs

A federal judge ordered the FDA to stop blocking the import of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) from China. A statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said, 

"In ruling today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may not regulate electronic cigarettes as drugs or medical devices, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has ignored decades of precedent and put America's consumers at unnecessary risk." 
This statement couldn't be more true. Electronic cigarettes are not being marketed as tobacco products they are being marketed as cessation devices or as some sort of healthier alternative to smoking. At any rate- these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. If you say a product is a cessation device it is a drug. If you say this is a healthier alternative it is a medical device. E-cig manufacturers are capitalizing on a legal quagmire of not really medical, not really tobacco, and not really a drug. Moreover, e-cig manufacturers have actively tried to circumvent smoke-free air laws by saying the product's vapor is harmless. The evidence is lacking and the public is at risk as a result. The FDA will eventually be able to regulate e-cigs under their regulatory authority over tobacco. Despite the e-cig manufacturers contention that their products do not contain tobacco, the FDA clearly feels otherwise.  
All across Wisconsin we saw these mall kiosks pop-up during the holiday season. At these kiosks were aggressive salespeople selling a product which is not proven to be safe and not proven to be an effective method to quit. Hopefully this ruling gets overturned and the government with side with public health. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spotlight: FDA to study what is in a cigarette?

While the FDA has been able to tell you what is in a tube of lipstick, they have not been able to tell you what is in a cigarette. The wait is finally over. According to an article today on WKOW Channel 27 Madison and an AP article announced that cigarette manufacturers will have to disclose their ingredients to the Food and Drug Administration. Starting in June Big Tobacco will need to turn over their ingredients and studies they have conducted on their products.
This is a huge step forward for public health. It has been a great mystery as to what addictive chemicals are added to cigarettes. Finally the public will know the truth!
While general ingredients have been published by some of Big Tobacco, by and large the contents of these products has been unknown. With FDA in charge, determining and eliminating additives will be much easier.
This will mean people all across the nation and in Wisconsin will better know what is in these products.

Friday, January 15, 2010

American Lung Association: Wisconsin Report Card for 2009

Yesterday we discussed the federal report card. Today let's see how Wisconsin measured up in terms of the four main areas that the American Lung Association measures a state's success in tobacco control.

  1. Wisconsin received an "F" in tobacco prevention and control funding. The program saw a 55% decrease in funding. The cut in funding was devastating enough, but the cut on the heels of $.75 cigarette tax increase hasWisconsin coming in with the lowest possible grade. 
  2. Wisconsin received an "I" for smoke-free air because we have not implemented our law yet. After July 5th, 2010 we should see a pretty impressive score in this area. 
  3. Wisconsin received a "B" in the cigarette tax category. Wisconsin has the 5th highest cigarette tax in the nation, so we got a thumbs up for that! 
  4. Wisconsin received a "B" in the cessation coverage category. While we cover many medications on through the Medicaid program, we have minimal coverage of co-pays which brings us down. We do have good coverage on the state employee health plan as well. The thing that really brings our score down in the lack of an insurance mandate for cessation coverage for private insurers. While many private insures cover cessation a mandate would bring our grade up! 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Candy Flavored Tobacco Article

A great article is featured in the Wisconsin State Journal today discussing the potential stimulus dollars and how they might be used to address candy flavored tobacco products.Check it out!


American Lung Association: Federal Report Card for 2009

Today the American Lung Association released it "State of Tobacco Control" for 2009.
The rankings for at the federal level were interesting and will be outlined below:

  1. By passing the FDA regulation of tobacco the federal government receives an "A." This is a landmark piece of legislation that will have real impact on youth and adult smoking rates but also what the public knows about tobacco products. 
  2. By not ratifying the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) the federal government received a "D." This is an important public health treaty, the first of its kind, that would end Big Tobacco's interference within the creation of  public health policy. While the FCTC has been signed it was not submitted to the Senate for ratification. 
  3. Despite increasing the federal cigarette tax from $.39 to $1.01, they receive a "D." They also receive a "thumps-up" for this effort. 
  4. Finally, for tobacco prevention and control spending the federal government received an "F." There is minimal spending for a national quit line, no spending for national media coverage, minimal coverage of cessation services, and no smoker's health fund. 
Despite great efforts on the federal level to make progress on the leading cause of preventable death, the grades are still pretty poor. Check back here for details on how Wisconsin is progressing in this fight againt Big Tobacco. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ohio: Reaching out to LGBTQ Smokers

Ohio, my home state, is reaching out to LGBTQ smokers through a new, innovative campaign called Buttout Ohio. They have an engaging and interactive website set up and are utilizing social media and a blog to reach out to more people. The main motivation behind this campaign is undoubtedly the high rates of smoking among the LGBTQ community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks smoke at higher rates than any other disparately affected group. For more details about smoking rates among LGBTQ folks peruse this factsheet.

Good work Ohio! Now if only Wisconsin hadn't lost 55% of its funding for tobacco prevention we might be able to reach out to the LGBTQ community here in Wisconsin in a more meaningful way.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More on Resolutions

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a cool feature on their website called e-cards. Certainly most people have received some sort of card electronically whether it be a birthday card or a get well card. The CDC offers something a bit unique. All 100% free greeting cards which carry a variety of health messages. For example they offer e-cards for people are trying to quit smoking or injury prevention or even seasonal and holiday cards.
These are a cool way to spread the good public health message that everyday is a good day to quit using tobacco.

If you know someone who is trying to quit smoking or trying to improve their health decisions in the new year consider sending them a personalized e-card from the CDC.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Court Ruling

A while back we posted about a pending lawsuit that deals with FDA regulatory provisions eliminating the use of light or mild on cigarette packaging (See post on light and mild). Last week a U.S. Judge struck down portions of the new FDA law which restricts tobacco product advertising. However many of the provisions of the FDA law have stood up in the court challenge by Big Tobacco. The ruling states that FDA can't block tobacco companies from using colors and graphics- they also can't say their product is safer because it has been regulated by the FDA.

The important provisions that still stand are: the requirement to use large graphic health warnings on tobacco products, the elimination sponsorships of athletic, social and cultural events using brand names, and the elimination of using branding and logos on merchandise.

All sides, Big Tobacco, Advertising Folks, and Public Health all call this a victory.

Read the full article about the ruling.

Read the full ruling.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids release

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Week of New Year's Resolutions Comes to a Close

Many people make a resolution to change a behavior during the new year. Whether you resolved to eat more fruits and veggies or to get out and appreciate nature more, by this point you have approached an initial evaluation point. This can be a major challenge, as the saying goes, old  habits die hard.

This is also a time when people attempt to quit smoking or give up chewing. If  you are one of the many people who resolve for this year to be different by this point in the new year you should have some success to report.

How has your progress been so far this new year?

Here are some quitting smoking and chewing resources hand selected for you:

My Last Dip

Wisconsin Quit Line

And for those who resolved to do some other healthier thing here are some resources:

Bicycle Maps for all 72 Counties in Wisconsin (though, I would probably wait for the ice to melt)

Wisconsin Winter Sports

Wisconsin Farmer's Markets

This is many more weeks in a happiest of new years and may your resolve remain strong!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tennessee Attorney General Sues Cigarette Manufacturer

According to an a press release from the AG in Tennesse, they have filed suit against a Columbian Cigarette Manufacturer for not making payments to the state for the treatmet of smokers. 
Tennessee has an escrow fund which is used to collect funds from tobacco manufacturers who where not part of the original Master Settlement Agreement. 

The Press Release

More information on Enforcing Tobacco Laws in Tenn.

Wisconsin does have a similar law, but in conducting a brief search did not find any indication that we were experiencing non-compliance or have any law suits pending.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Study: Smoking Raises Type 2 Diabetes Risk Even After Quitting

A new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine released a study indicating that the risk for type 2 diabetes is still elevated even after a person quits smoking.

While cigarette smoking is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, up until now, researchers thought that the risk could be eliminated or reduced by quitting. Researchers attributed the part of the increased risk to post-cessation weight gain.

Physicians caution that an increased risk for diabetes must not be a reason to continue to smoke. The advice is to quit smoking and keep a close eye on your diet and exercise habits.

More details of the study

More information about Diabetes and Smoking

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smoke-Free New Year

In you missed this great little clip from Wisconsin Radio News click the link below for a Happy Smoke-Free New Year from Sen. Fred Risser.

A smoke-free New Year to you! 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Smoking in Movies

Perhaps over the holiday break you, like millions of other people, went to see a movie. If you went to see Avatar, you undoubtedly noted that despite being a futuristic movie with the latest in technology-Sigourney Weaver is smoking in the movie!
It seems that the filmmakers don't see a tobacco-free future...
In California there has been significant progressive towards de-normalizing smoking by not showing famous actors in movies lighting up. Perhaps you are like me, who at first wasn't entirely convinced about this whole smoking in movies leading to increased smoking n young people. Once I began getting friendly with the research and data, it became clear. Big Tobacco is a smart one and they know the research and facts too. They know product placements and smoking in movies sells move of their product. 

Most of the advocacy work in this area has been through a group called Smoke-Free Movies. If you hop over to Smoke-Free Movies you will see industry documents and the impact of smoking in movies. Quite simply smoking in movies is a highly effective method which promotes the initiation of smoking amongst young people:
Exposure to depictions of smoking in movies is associated with more favorable attitudes toward smoking and characters who smoke, and these positive views are particularly prevalent among youth who themselves smoke.
Exposure to smoking in movies increases the risk for smoking initiation. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies provide clear support that youth report greater susceptibility and intentions to smoke and are more likely to actually try smoking following exposure to smoking in the movies and on television. Furthermore, even after controlling for other factors known to be associated with adolescent smoking intention and tobacco use, studies show a clear dose effect, whereby greater exposure to smoking in the movies is associated with a greater chance of smoking.
The increased risk for smoking initiation as a result of exposure to smoking in the movies can be reduced by antismoking advertisements and parental restriction of which movies their children watch. (Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences conclusions)
Before you go out for your next movie, decide what type of influence you would want that movie to have on your kids. If you don't want your kids lighting up, head over to Smoke-Free Movies and see which films are completely smoke-free!