Friday, October 29, 2010

No Treats Just Tricks

Now that you know what new tobacco products are hitting the stores, how they're being marketed and what risks they carry, you can see the OTPs as the tricks they are. These products appeal to our youth, a vulnerable group that does not need early exposure to tobacco's control. Let's close the tax loophole on these products and protect our kids.

Make sure you pass the information along. Let your friends and family know what's out there so they can make the right decision for their health and help steer our youth away from the road to a lifetime of addiction that the Industry would prefer they walk down.

So I will leave you with some more resources below. Thanks for taking the time to follow along with our Trick or Treat OTP Series and have a safe and tobacco-free Halloween!

Additional Resources:

From 2006 - 2008 there were 13,705 cases of poisoning in young children and infants from accidental ingestion of tobacco products reports WebMD. "Of particular concern are new dissolvable, compressed tobacco products that come in small pellets, such as Camel Orbs. Researchers say their packaging resembles mints and the products themselves have a candy-like appearance and added flavorings that make them attractive to young children," the article states.

The American Cancer Society on risks of using smokeless tobacco

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids  "The Danger from Dissolvable Tobacco and Other Smokeless Tobacco Products"

Videos from Rock County Forum

Interested in hearing what candidates from AD 43, 44, 45 and SD 15 have to say about tobacco?

Check out these videos with answers to two tobacco-related questions at the candidate forum held in Rock County on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Question on funding for the state's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program:

Rock County Forum - Question #1 from SmokeFree Wisconsin on Vimeo.

Question on taxing all tobacco products at an equal rate:

Rock County Forum - Question #2 from SmokeFree Wisconsin on Vimeo.

For more videos of candidate forums around the state check out our Vimeo site here!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or Treat: Camel Strips

"'The consumer should be aware of the information available about the potential risks of each tobacco product. There are none that are safe and there are none that are without risks,' said RJ Reynolds rep David Howard." - This quote is pulled from an article in Brandweek written specifically about the emerging products, Camel Orbs, Camel Sticks and our product of the day today - Camel Strips.

This slick, attractive package contains 20 dissolvable "Fresh" strips of tobacco. The product comes with instructions on how to open it and "How to Enjoy." Strips are placed on the tongue or folded up and placed between the lip and gum of the user. The Strip is then left to fully dissolve, lasting about 3 minutes. Strips are just bigger than a quarter, and look very similar to Listerine breath mint strips, but they won't leave your breath smelling too sweet.

Like the other dissolvable tobacco products, the Strips packing must carry a warning for it's users. "WARNING: THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE MOUTH CANCER" is displayed on the thin side of each pack.

As mentioned earlier this week, products like this one, and other OTPs, are not taxed equally to cigarettes. This, along with their flashy packaging and sweet flavors mimicking popular candies and gums kids love, send the wrong message to our youth. The health risks posed by these products are not ones we'd wish on any of our own children. There are efforts we can take to protect them from these products such as closing the tax loophole. Make sure your kids see this as the trick it is and not a new kind of treat.

For today, I'll leave you with this quote from U.S. Tobacco. "Cherry Skoal is for somebody who likes the taste of candy, if you know what I'm saying." That quote comes from a Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids fact sheet on tobacco and kids.

For more information on these products and youth, you can also check out the press release from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids released in 2008 .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat: Camel Sticks

Sticks are another new product the Tobacco Industry is introducing as one that you can "Enjoy Anywhere. Anytime. Anyplace."
(As a writer, the grammar of that catchphrase drives me nuts, but that's perhaps beside the point.)

These Sticks are finely milled tobacco twisted into a stick form about the size of a tooth pick. The tobacco is also mixed with sweetener and flavor and of course nicotine is present too. They last a little bit longer than the Orbs do, 20 - 30 minutes total. Each Stick is placed in between the inside of one's cheek and their gum and the packaging directs you to "let each Stick dissolve completely in your mouth." The Sticks come with directions on how to use them, including how to get them out of the package.

While some argue Sticks, and other OTPs, can be used in place of cigarettes and will reduce harm to the user, I encourage you to look back at the CDC's claims that smokeless tobacco products are NOT a safe alternative to smoking and that smokeless tobacco products are a significant health risk. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids references a 2008 study from the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer which found, "smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of developing oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic and esophageal cancer." The Smokeless Tobacco Outreach and Prevention Guide referenced in a Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids fact sheet says, "constant exposure to tobacco juice causes cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach and pancreas." These numbers are in comparison to those of non-users.

You will also see right on the Sticks container, "WARNING: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO CIGARETTES."

It's just a new kind of "cancer stick."
Nice trick.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Missed the AD 41 and 42 Forum in Montello?

We captured the candidates' answers for tobacco-related questions just for you! Check out the video below!

Candidate Forum - Montello, WI from SmokeFree Wisconsin on Vimeo.

You can watch videos from more Candidate Forums around the state here.

Candidate Forum Video From Spring Green Event

Candidate Forum - Spring Green from SmokeFree Wisconsin on Vimeo.

If you are voting in AD 49, 51 or SD 17 check out this video! We recorded the candidates answers to tobacco-related questions at the Spring Green forum which took place Oct. 18.

Trick or Treat: Camel Orbs

Camel Orbs are dissolvable tobacco pellets, that, as you can see here, are about the size of a tic tac. The product is made from finely milled tobacco and are said to last about 15 to 20 minutes. The user simply puts the mint on their tongue or in between their cheek and their gum. The product comes in two different flavors; "Fresh" and "Mellow." The industry calls these smokeless and spitless products, "the best tobacco you've never smoked." The label on each package directs you to "let each Orb dissolve completely in your mouth." The package will also tell you, in a less so prominent place, "Warning: This product may cause mouth cancer." The CDC will tell you the risks don't end there. According to the CDC, smokeless tobacco contains 28 known, cancer-causing toxins, that it is not only known to cause cancer of the mouth, but to also increase the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas. The CDC will tell you it's strongly associated with leukoplakia, a precancerous lesion in your mouth, recession of gums, gum disease and tooth decay. They can lead to preeclampsia, low birth weight and premature birth in pregnant women and reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells in males.

Another ingredient you won't find on the Orbs packaging is nicotine, especially not the fact that the mints can lead to nicotine overdoses, according to Oral Cancer News. This report in Oral Cancer News, claims Camel dissolvable products deliver up to three times the amount of nicotine that's in a cigarette.

This poisonous product mimics the look of candy products like tic tacs right down to the leafy shape around their logo. So teach your kids these products are dangerous and NOT a safe alternative to cigarettes, a claim the CDC has backed up. A lion in sheep's clothing is still a lion.

Now that you know about this product, how to identify it and what's really on the inside, spread the word. Let's teach our youth to opt for the treat and not this highly-addictive, toxic trick!

Monday, October 25, 2010

OTPs... More Trick Than Treat

"Trick or treat!"

You'll be hearing this line all weekend. It's a phrase that brings to mind bags full of candy and kids running around dressed up like their favorite characters. After collecting as many goodies as they can, trick-or-treaters all over the country will dump out their candy bags on the floor at home and sort each piece into piles by favorites, colors, brands or whichever organizational tactic they prefer.

Big Tobacco is playing a similar game. "Trick or treat?" is what many are asking themselves when they see the Industry's latest products. These products, or OTPs (other tobacco products), disguise themselves as their favorite characters too, candy treats. The OTPs' packages look very familiar to candy and some of the products are even flavored with sweet tastes like grape, berry, watermelon, dreamsicle, cookie dough, even chocolate covered cherries. Big Tobacco brags you can take these products anywhere and use them everywhere because they are smokeless and spitless. With these qualities, smokeless and spitless, they become very easy for our kids to use without anyone knowing. Students can sit in class with a tobacco mint in their mouth and their teachers would have no idea. The sounds of a kid dumping out a tobacco mint into their mouths behind you in the car sounds the same as one dumping out a few tic tacs. Trick or treat?!

So to help you answer that question when you're standing in your local convenience store, we'll be taking a closer look at some of these products all week. Each day, Tuesday- Friday, we'll highlight a different product, help you to identify it and let you know the dangers of it. Some of the products we'll look at are Orbs (tobacco mints with nicotine), sticks (dissolvable tobacco sticks with nicotine that you place inside your mouth), strips (dissolvable strips, much like Listerine strips only instead of a minty fresh taste you're slowly taking in... you guessed it... nicotine and tobacco), and other similar products. (You do have to be 18 to purchase these products.)

These OTPs are not taxed equally to cigarettes sending a message that they are an ok alternative to smoking. The CDC has released a statement, backed by evidence, saying these products are NOT a safe alternative to cigarettes.

So trick..or treat... what do you think? We must not let Big Tobacco trick our kids with these products, leading them down a road to a lifetime of addiction. Stay tuned all week to learn about a new product each day.. and make sure your kids are aware of these "tricks" and stay away.

Candidate Forum in Wausau TONIGHT!

The next Candidate Forum is Monday, Oct. 25th in Wausau!
Here are the details...

4 - 6 pm
UW-Marathon Auditorium
518 S. 7th Ave.
Wausau, Wisconsin 54401

Rep. Donna Siedel – (D) CONFIRMED
Charles Eno – (R) CONFIRMED
Jim Maas – (L) CONFIRMED

Todd Punke – (D) CONFIRMED
Rep. Jerry Petrowski – (R) INVITED

Frank Rutherford (I) CONFIRMED

Sen. Pat Kreitlow (D) CONFIRMED
Terry Moulton (R) Invited

Sen. Russ Decker – (D) CONFIRMED
Pam Galloway – (R) Invited

Hope to see you there!

For more info check out this article in the Wausau Daily Herald. Click here!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Video of AD 52 and 54 Candidate Forum in Oshkosh

We took a camera to the forum in Oshkosh a week ago, on Oct. 14th. Here are the three candidates introductions and then the answers Gordon Hintz (54) and Jonathan Krause (54) gave to tobacco-related questions. Paul Czisney (52) had to leave after the first half hour of the forum which is why he is no longer in the video after the candidate introductions.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missed the AD 41 and 42 Forum in Montello?

If you couldn't make it to the Candidate Forum Breakfast in Montello yesterday morning and you want to hear where the candidates stand on the important public health issues covered... you're in luck! Check out this report from the Portage Daily Register on the event.

Click here to read article.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smoke-Free Update on WRCO Radio

A few weeks ago Blair Weyer, coordinator for South Central Wisconsin Tobacco-Free Coalition, was live on WRCO's morning talkshow to promote an upcoming forum and answer tobacco-related questions, including how things are going with the smoke-free air law. I apologize that this interview took place a couple weeks ago and I am only now getting it on the blog. The forum being promoted in the segment has now passed, but the rest of the information is great!


Click here to listen to the interview.

Great job in the interview Blair!

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Week's Candidate Forum Schedule

You have just two weeks left to make your final decision on who you're going to vote for this election season, so we're bringing your candidates to you!

Attend one of our many candidate forums going on around the state in the next two weeks to learn how your candidates feel about important public health issues like tobacco, alcohol, nutrition and more! You also have a chance to submit your own questions to be answered by the potential policy-makers.

Here's the schedule for this week... chances are there's one near you!

Monday Oct 18:

Spring Green Forum - AD 49 & 51 and SD 17
The House on the Rock Resort
400 Springs Drive
Spring Green, WI 53588

Tomahawk Forum - AD 35 
6:30 – 8pm
Rm 1/2
304 Kaphaem Road
Tomahawk, WI 54487

Tuesday Oct 19:

St. Croix Forum – AD 29
11:30am  – 12:30pm
WITC-New Richmond
Student Commons
1019 S Knowles Ave
New Richmond, WI 54017

Wednesday Oct 20:

Candidate Forum Breakfast (Montello) – AD 41 & 42
8-9:30 am
UW Extension County Services Center
480 Underwood Ave.
Montello, WI

Thursday Oct 21:

Rock County Forum – AD 43, 44 &45 and SD 15
6 – 7pm
Blackhawk Tech
Rm 1400A
6004 South County Road G
Janesville, WI

Hope you can make it to one of these events! There will be more forums next week and we'll keep you posted on just when those will be!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shards O' Glass - Truth

Have you seen the new Shards O' Glass recall commercial by Truth? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Third-hand Smoke Puts Your Baby at Risk

Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston was quoted in the Scientific American defining third-hand smoke as, "tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished."

When that article was written in January of 2009, Winickoff discussed his research into the danger of third-hand smoke and the levels of toxins left behind after a smoker puts their cigarette out. But at that time, he knew of no research done that linked this recent discovery to disease.

Now, a new study out of Germany takes the research a step further, showing, for the first time, that these toxins are not only transferred to infants from their care-takers clothing, but that the toxic substances penetrate through the infant's skin "into deeper tissue layers," and do produce harmful effects in the exposed baby or toddler's skin.

The "harmful effects" researchers found to occur were massive damage to the skin cells of the child, "changing their shape and even, where the concentration was high, died off," and also that "nerve cells, which are particularly active during the early stages of development, showed clear changes and were no longer able to connect properly with one another."

So if mom or dad take a quick cigarette break, even if it's outside, and then pick up their little one, they are putting the child's health at risk, according to the study.

To read the full press release on the study click here.

To read Scientic American article from January 2009, mentioned above, click here.