Thursday, September 30, 2010

Entertainment Industry Has Public Health Responsibility Say Authors of New Study

Medscape Medical News Reports: As a result of a recent study, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a statement calling for a ban on tobacco advertising in all media. In this statement, published in the October issue of AAP, experts point out there is 1 smoking scene every 57 minutes on American television. The statement gives 17 recommendations which include encouraging parents to limit their child's media exposure, and push for more media education and restrictions on advertising of alcohol and tobacco.  The report calls these products gateway drugs and says they "pose the greatest threat to children and teenagers," noting that those individuals who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol are 65 times more likely to use marijuana than their peers who do not smoke or drink.
Therefore, the authors of the study are recommending pediatricians "encourage the entertainment industry to have greater sensitivity about the effects of television and movies on children and accept that the industry does, indeed, have a public health responsibility," reports Medscape Medical News.

View the full article from Medscape Medical News here.

Read AAP's report here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Wall Street Journal: Congress Examining Whether Tobacco Manufacturers Are Avoiding Taxes

WSJ Reports: Congress is looking into accusations that some tobacco manufacturers are exploiting a tax loophole by increasing the weight of their "little" cigars to avoid paying the recently increased excise tax on such products. By changing the weight, these cigars can be classified as "large" cigars, taxed at lower rates. Interestingly, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau found in the 14 months following the tax increase, sales of "large" cigars have quadrupled and sales of "little" cigars have plummeted, reports WSJ.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is not only looking at these accusations to see if tobacco manufacturers are indeed avoiding taxes, but they are also examining whether or not these flavored tobacco products are in violation of the Food and Drug Administration's rules against marketing cigarettes to youth. According to WSJ, this rule could apply to "little" cigars if they meet the definition of a cigarette. The picture above compares "little" cigars to an actual cigarette.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SmokeFree Wisconsin Needs Your Help

Fall is officially here! It is a favorite season of many! As we enjoy the beauty around us, we get to pull out all our warm sweaters and cozy up with some hot apple cider with a pumpkin spice candle flickering nearby. Just as the clothes at the front of our closets change , our state, too, will soon undergo some changes. Very soon, new faces will be chosen to lead Wisconsin citizens for the next few years.

Recently, some individuals and municipalities started speaking out against the recently-passed, smoke-free air law and are even talking about repeal! We cannot let these threats to this life-saving legislation come to fruition. At SmokeFree Wisconsin, we are working relentlessly to make sure the smoke-free air we've all just achieved stays that way, but we need your help! We are so grateful for the support you have offered in the past as we worked up to this point. Please give whatever you can today to help us protect Wisconsin's hard-won, smoke-free air law and continue our efforts to preserve the right for everyone to live and breathe tobacco-free!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Smoke-Free Air Laws Can Save Kids' Lives, According to Recent Study

New research finds smoke-free air laws have "even greater health benefits than previously believed," reports The Washington Post. The new study, conducted in Scotland and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that these laws reduce the number of trips to the hospital for kids suffering from asthma, potentially saving their lives. USA Today reports the study found, "the number of children hospitalized for life-threatening asthma episodes fell 18% in the first year after Scotland's smoke-free law took effect." Before Scotland passed their smoke-free air law, these numbers were on the rise.

While many studies have shown smoke-free air laws like Wisconsin's greatly improve the health of hospitality workers, this study furthers those findings by providing evidence that the laws have a very positive impact on the health of our children, as well. Wisconsin has the fifth highest kids' exposure rate to second-hand smoke in the nation. This study suggests the recently passed smoke-free air law can help to bring those numbers down and improve the respiratory health of our kids.

Read more about the study in The Washington Post here and in USA Today here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Economical Impact of Cessation Programs in Our State

American Lung Association has posted a new study out of Penn State called, "Smoking Cessation: The Economic Benefits." Check out the interactive map and see how Wisconsin measures up with other states. Click on the state to see more on the economical impact of cessation programs there.

Click here to check out study.

Smokeless Tobacco Products NOT Safe Alternatives to Smoking, Says AHA

American Heart Association reports: Smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco are not only an unsafe alternative to smoking, but they also can increase the risk of certain cancers, fatal heart attacks and strokes, reports AHA.

Smokeless tobacco contains 28 known cancer-causing toxins and can lead to both oral and pancreatic cancer, gum disease and tooth decay and, in men, reduced sperm cells, according to the CDC.

In addition, these products "increase the risk of relapse for those who have already quit smoking," said AHA.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Community/Candidate Forums

So far, the forums have been successful! We have had many community members in each district show up and engage the candidates with very helpful questions on the important public health issues that matter most to each area. The candidates have made time to hear their potential constituents' concerns and share their position on each issue. The forums have been a valuable resource for everyone involved.

We are very excited to have these forums recorded by WisconsinEye and posted to their Web site.

The forums recorded here are the 77th AD forum, held in Madison on Sept. 7th, the 8th AD forum in Milwaukee on Sept. 9th and the 10th AD forum in Milwaukee Sept. 10th.

To help you navigate, here are the times for the tobacco-related questions in each forum.

77th AD Forum (total time, 1 hour and 13 minutes):
05:10 - 10:33 Presentation on the burden of tobacco in our state
24:00 - 30:17 Question about continued funding for tobacco prevention and control efforts
36:10 - 42:30 Question about closing the tax loophole on other tobacco products

8th AD Forum (total time, 1 hour):
After the introduction until 15:00 One of the organizers discusses the burden of tobacco in our state
26:00 - 30:03 Question about support for financing of tobacco cessation programs for Vets
34:35 - 39:08 Question about continued/ increased funding for tobacco prevention and control efforts
10th AD Forum (total time, 1 hour and 18 minutes):
13:25 Question about closing tax loophole on other tobacco products
23:10 - 27:20 Question about supporting funding for tobacco prevention and control efforts
27:20 - 36:00 Question on what candidates ideas are to keep kids from smoking in their district
48:40 - 52:32 Question about whether candidates would pressure stores to ID kids buying alcohol and tobacco
57:25 Question about candidates thoughts on talk of repealing the smoke-free air law
01:03:50 Question on candidates thoughts on reducing the number of stores in area that will break up packs and sell individual cigarettes to kids and what will they do to stop this
P.S. Community/Candidate Forums will continue until the General Election on Nov. 2nd!
Continue checking our blog for where and when those will be taking place!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Candidate Forums in Milwaukee

Today and Tomorrow, we are encouraging supporters of SmokeFree WI and healthy living advocates to attend candidate forums in the 8th and 10th Assembly Districts. These races are open seats with the retirements of Rep. Colon and Rep. Williams respectively. Each of these districts will have a new representative in Wisconsin's General Assembly and they need to know how important it is to maintain a smoke-free Wisconsin.

These forums allow voters to learn the positions of candidates on many important issues surrounding achieving a healthier Wisconsin. Large crowds will demonstrate how important it is to protect public health and clean air. These events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. Please invite friends and family!

Let your future representative know where you stand by joining us at this forum!

8th Assembly District Candidate Forum
September 9, 2010
5:00-7:00 PM
2701 S Chase Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207

All Candidates Invited. The event is sponsored by the Hispanic Latino Tobacco Prevention Network, Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition, and the American GI Forum - Wisconsin.

10th Assembly District Candidate Forum
September 10, 2010
10:00-11:30 AM
Martin Luther King, Jr. Center
1531 W. Vliet St.
Milwaukee, WI 53205

All Candidates Invited. Elizabeth Coggs, Stephanie Findley, and Sherman Lawrence Hill are confirmed to attend. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network, Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network, and New Concept Self Development Center, Inc.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CDC - National Youth Smoking Rate No Longer Declining

HealthDay News Reports: The number of teens smoking in the United States is no longer decreasing as it had for the last decade. According to a new US government study, increased tobacco prevention efforts are necessary to begin bringing these numbers down again. The CDC found the rates of teens smoking nationwide was not significantly different in 2009 than it was in 2006.

"The researchers said tobacco use remains the single leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and that more than 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before age 18," reported HealthDay News.

In order to reduce smoking and the use of other tobacco products in teens, the study authors said, there must be restrictions on advertising and promotion of these products to young people, as well as have smoke-free air laws around the nation and increase the prices of these products.

Picture credit: Woodgate Design

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Smoke-Free Labor Day

Yesterday was Labor Day, a holiday designed to recognize the contributions workers all over the US have made to our country. In light of this holiday, Wisconsin should be proud of the step recently made to recognize and protect the right of all workers to breathe smoke-free air in our state. This Labor Day, for the first time, every Wisconsin worker could take a deep breath in, without also taking in the harmful carcinogens known to be in cigarette smoke and the more than 100 other toxins that remain in the air even after the cigarette has been put out. No longer do the hard-working men and women of Wisconsin have to choose between a paycheck and exposure to these life-threatening chemicals as all work-places are now smoke-free.

So this Labor Day, our hats go off to all you workers out there and to those who helped make a smoke-free Wisconsin possible!

Picture Credit - Flickr:mag3737

Friday, September 3, 2010

Find Out Which Candidates Share Your Values

On Tuesday Sept. 7th, 2010 the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse, Tobacco-Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition and Wisconsin Partnership For Activity and Nutrition are hosting a community/candidate forum for the 77th Assembly District.

The forum will give community members a chance to share with the candidates which public health issues are important to them and hear where each candidate stands on the issue. It also gives the candidates an opportunity to hear the concerns of their potential constituents. It's a great two-way conversation and an invaluable resource for voters.

Some candidates in upcoming elections are talking about repealing the smoke-free air law if given the opportunity. Make sure your voice is heard.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

All 77th AD candidates were invited. The candidates that have confirmed their attendance are; John Imes,Brett Hulsey, Dianne Hesselbein, Ben Manski and Fred Wade.

The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at CUNA Mutual, 5810 Mineral Point Rd. (Round Building), Madison, WI 53705. It will be on the second floor of the building across from the auditorium.

We hope to see you there and we encourage you to bring a friend or two!