Friday, February 26, 2010

Hats off to Kansas- The next smoke-free state!!

A huge victory for Public Health was won yesterday in Kansas. Kansas will join 27 other states in going smoke-free. The governor has promised to sign. This statewide law will strengthen weaker municipal ordinances and bring all residents of Kansas to the same level of health protections.

Congratulations to Kansas!

More details of the law to follow as they are published.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Be Better Now: Go smoke-free EARLY!

What is your favorite hang-out? Does it still allow smoking? Do you wish it would go smoke-free now and not in July?

Tell us about it! We would love to know of businesses who are ready to "Be Better Now" and go smoke-free early!

Click here to tell us your favorite hang out and why they should go smoke-free early. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does changing the name and keeping the branding change public opinion?

Back in October we talked about the evidence which supports that labels like light and mild are deceptive. We also discussed the provisions of the FDA Regulation of Tobacco with regards to labels like light and mild. Numerous companies have re-branded their products to exclude labels like "light" or "mild." They have opted to keep the colors commonly associated with the word like light blue of gold in the case of Marlboro Lights. Big Tobacco might remove the words, but maintaining the branding commonly associated with the words is not doing consumers any favors. The branding plays into what consumers believe. Consumers will still have an easily recognizable package which they associate with light and with less risk than full flavor cigarettes. While the FDA has begun research about color coding and could possibly change these regulations in the future, for now, they stand.

To read more about the debate on this issue click here. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marlboro taking Snus Nationwide

As we have discussed extensively on the blog here- new and emerging products are rapidly coming onto the market, both in test cities and nationwide. Good old Altria, owners of Phillip Morris (PMI) and makers of Marlboro brand (the cigarette of choice for more smokers than any other brand) are at it again. "Seeking future growth," Big Tobacco claims is the reason that Marlboro Snus is going nationwide. By the end of March every convenient store and gas station will be stocked full of these lethal products.

The truth is PMI knows that they can't stay in the cigarette market and maintain record margins of profits despite a major recession. They also know that cigarettes are not viewed as socially acceptable as they once were, thanks in large part to local, state, and national network of tobacco control activists. With their mainstay product falling from popularity Big Tobacco moves in for another kill- smokeless. Discreet little pouches with fun names like Snus and kid-friendly flavors like Frost. Let's be clear spit tobacco is no better for you than smoking. It is addictive, makes your teeth fall out and causes cancer. Maybe you won't die from lung cancer but losing half you jaw isn't too sexy either.
At any rate, PMI proves once again we must remain vigilant in fighting Big Tobacco. We must also watch out for Big Tobacco's dirty tricks. Many states base the tax on Snus on weight like moist snuff, aka weight-based tax. We in Wisconsin saw the trend for lighter products and have switched to a percentage of price model of taxation on other tobacco products. This ensures that products on taxed more similarly to cigarettes and less like the virtually weightless system Big Tobacco prefers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Study: California Casinos have toxic air

Despite a smoke-free workplaces law in California, Native American Casinos still have toxic levels of secondhand smoke. The casinos are one of only a few places where smoking is still permitted indoors. The "non-smoking areas" of casinos had high levels of particulate matter from secondhand smoke and do not offer the protection workers and patrons need. The levels found inside casinos exceeded the EPA limits for outdoor air quality. The lead author notes that in some cases people could be seen wearing masks in the casinos to reduce exposure. The problem with ventilation or wearing a mask is that it does not provide adequate protections from secondhand smoke.
Even when Wisconsin goes smoke-free, casinos will not be joining other workplaces in the change. All casinos in Wisconsin are on tribal lands-- therefore tribal governments must take action to protect workers and patrons. Hopefully with the momentum that is building in California and other places, Wisconsin casinos will join the movement for smoke-free gaming.

Click here to read the full study. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who has the healthiest county of them all?

That is preciously the question that the University of Wisconsin-Madison Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wanted to know about Wisconsin Counties. This study used factors like weight, smoking, unemployment, poverty, and other factors. The top ranked counties were Ozaukee, St. Croix, Washington, Waukesha, and Portage. They found that Calumet and Outagamie Counties are pretty darn healthy also, mostly due to their access to a smoke-free city and health care. Dane County ranked 10th healthiest in the state. This study confirmed the belief that wealthier urban or suburban counties are in better health while more rural, poorer counties are less healthy. For example Juneau County ranked the lowest in the state in health largely due to high rates of poverty, a rural setting, and other factors. 


Monday, February 15, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nice LTE on why the cigarette tax is a good thing

Earlier this week there was a great LTE on why the proposed cigarette tax will have public health impact for the state of New York. 
With New York facing insufficient resources to pay for education and health care, the proposed $1 cigarette tax increase will go to the state Health Care Reform Act Resources Fund to support health care and health-related initiatives, such as tobacco control programs. The increase in the cigarette tax is expected to generate additional revenues of $200 million in 2010-2011 and $205 million in 2011-2012.
Tobacco tax increases are good for public health, good for state revenues, and have broad-based public support. The 2008 state Adult Tobacco Survey found 59 percent of New York adults favored the $1 cigarette tax increase. The tax increase would help 53,800 adults to quit and 48,300 state residents to be saved from premature smoking-caused death. In addition, the estimated five-year health savings from fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births is $16.4 million; and the estimated five-year health savings from fewer smoking-caused heart attacks and strokes is $23.6 million.

Good work Kelly Barton-White! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emerging Issue: Third-Hand Smoke

Third-hand smoke is an emerging area of scientific inquiry. Following my return from Lake Tahoe, at the Clearing the Air Institute, I was all fired up about third-hand smoke issues. While the science is still emerging, I think at least anecdotally people believe the the residue left behind from smoking is smelly. For example when a smoker moves out of their home Realtors often recommend painting or cleaning surfaces.  That smell that is left behind contains toxic chemicals which off-gas for long periods of time. While the cancer risk is unknown it is clear that if someone is smoking in an enclosed space there will be toxic chemicals from that smoking left behind. 

As a result of this emerging research people have taken steps like have a smoke-free home policy or moving into an multi-unit housing development that is 100% smoke-free in all its units. Other people don't allow smoking in their vehicles. 

What are readers doing about this issue?
Have you been educating others about this issue as well?

My sister, who recently had a baby said that no one who was recently smoking could hold the baby or be near the baby given the smoke residue on their clothes. Great idea and its keeping my nephew safe! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FDA: Worried about R. J. Reynold's new products

File:Worry dolls.jpg
In the new regulatory capacity of the FDA, they have requested research about  new Camel (R. J. Reynolds) products such as orbs, sticks, and strips. While only being test marketed in a few places nationwide, the hope is these products will be nationwide. The FDA is worried that these products will appeal to youth and young people. With bright packaging, small size, and affordable price, these products are likely to make their way into the hands of young people. FDA is requesting information about how people under 25 perceive dissolvable products. They are likely to find that young people view these products as safer then cigarettes. 
While the Master Settlement Agreement prohibits the marketing of products directly to minors, it is clear that these products are a cause for concern. 
As many people know, Wisconsin was not chosen as a test market for the sticks, strips, and orbs. However we have tried to keep the good people of Wisconsin in the know about these products. Hopefully the FDA finds out some good information and we can use to that to prevent youth from picking up these products. We don't know if these products are safer than cigarettes. We do know that these products carry different risks than cigarettes, most likely more like chewing tobacco. Time and the FDA will tell...... 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fear not... Lorillard joining smokeless market too!

321: R = Rhytiphobia, the fear of aging... by practicalowl. 

Fear not blog readers... Lorillard is not to be outdone by its other Big Tobacco buddies! The makers of Newports have reached a deal with Swedish Match AB to make a new smokeless product for their US consumers. 
As we see the rise of smoke-free air laws all across the country, Big Tobacco has been hard at work to make sure they are still selling death, disease, and addiction. While Phillip Morris and R. J. Reynolds have gotten on the bandwagon early, Lorillard is joining the cause too. 
The plan for the makers of Newport is to create  a "snus" style product. 
So Wisconsinites- time to get your sluething hats on and be on the lookout for a snus product coming your way. The company has not released a timeline for the test marketing of their new product, but Camel has seen a small share of success with its Snus product and Lorillard is hoping to do the same. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

State Tobacco Control Conference

Are you interested in tobacco control? Do you want new tools to do your work in tobacco control?
Do you participate in a community tobacco-free coalition?
Are you passionate about smoke-free air?
Do you want to activate youth to join the fight against Big Tobacco?

Then... the 2010 Wisconsin 
Tobacco Prevention & Control Conference for you! 

April 7-8th
Monona Terrace 
Madison, WI 

Visit to learn more and to register. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Indiana Next Smoke-Free Midwest State?

 A bold move from the House voted to approve a statewide smoke-free air law by a margin of 73-26! However there is reluctance by the Senate to take up the bill. Hopefully, the "Crossroads of America" will become the smoke-free hub of the midwest.

While Wisconsin shed its nickname as the ashtray of the midwest, is  Indiana going to be taking that name on?

Stay tuned to see whether the Senate willm ove this bill or bow down to the pressures of big business.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

World Cancer Day

Today SmokeFree Wisconsin joins many others in observing World Cancer Day. This year's message is that cancer can be prevented. No one thinks more about prevention then SmokeFree Wisconsin. The important ways that you can prevent cancer are:

  • avoid tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • maintain a healthy diet and get your body moving
  • limit alcohol use
  • protect yourself against cancer causing infections (Click here to read more on HPV)
Share with loved ones the importance of preventing cancer and the daily practice of living a healthy lifestyle free of cancer.