Monday, November 29, 2010

WHO's First Report on Worldwide Burden of Tobacco on Health

USA Today: Second hand smoke sickens and kills 600,000 people worldwide every year, says a new report by the World Health Organization. The report found 165,000 of these deaths are in kids younger than five.

But researchers say that smoke-free laws can help to curb this number since in just one year after these types of laws are enacted heart attacks drop 10-20%. In the USA Today article, Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California-San Francisco calls smoke-free laws one of the "glimmers of hope" within the report.

Overall, tobacco kills 5.7 million people worldwide each year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Thanksgiving We're Grateful for You and Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Air.

My family has a tradition each Thanksgiving, I'm sure not too different from many of yours. Once all the food is on the table and we're gathered around the dining room taking in the aromas of turkey, stuffing, broccoli salad and freshly baked rolls we all pause a moment. Then, one by one, we go around the table and must each say what we're most thankful for before anyone can start eating.

Today, it's SmokeFree Wisconsin's turn at the table to say what we're most thankful for. It's been such a great year it's too hard to pick just one, but we will keep it to only two.

1) We're so thankful for you, our supporters who give in whatever way you can, helping us fight to end tobacco's long reign as the number one cause of preventable death in our state.

2) We're thankful for SMOKE-FREE AIR! This year we became one of 29 states to implement a smoke-free law. It's been a huge step forward in public health for Wisconsin. Today, every worker is guaranteed a smoke-free workplace, reducing their chances of developing chronic diseases like hearth disease or asthma, saving individuals, businesses and the entire state money in health care costs in the long-run. We know our work does not end here as more than 7,000 Wisconsinites still die each year in tobacco-related deaths, but it's a big move forward! Thank you to everyone out there who helped us push to make a smoke-free Wisconsin a reality!

Have a happy, smoke-free Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Less Than 1% of WI Businesses Receive Noncompliance Complaints for Smoke-Free Law

Data on the first four months of Wisconsin’s statewide smoke-free law shows compliance with the law is extremely high.

According to data collected by the Department of Health Services (DHS), the number of complaints filed in violation of the smoke-free law peaked at 205 in July, the first month the law took effect, and hit an all-time low of just 78 in October. The law applies to nearly 200,000 businesses statewide.

These numbers further demonstrate the already evident success of the smoke-free law,” said Maureen Busalacchi, Executive Director of SmokeFree Wisconsin.  “Smoke-free laws, whether on the local or state level, are generally self-enforcing. People understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and respect the law.”

“Clearly the smoke-free law is working and workers, patrons and the public are breathing easier,” said Gail Sumi, Wisconsin Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society.  “Eliminating secondhand smoke from our workplaces has been and will continue to be key to keeping Wisconsin workers healthy and productive. It’s good to see so many businesses are readily adapting to the healthier environment.”

In total, less than one percent of businesses statewide have had compliance complaints since the law went into effect July 5th.  Businesses reported in violation of the law first receive a warning letter from DHS and subsequent complaints can lead to fines both for business owners and for smokers.

Anyone wishing to report a violation can do so anonymously at or by phone at 1-800-NO-SMOKE. A breakdown of the month-to-month complaints and number of businesses cited can be accessed at:

Wisconsin is one of 23 states that have comprehensive smoke-free laws as a matter of public health.

Check out Wisconsin Restaurant Association's Press Statement on Compliance Data Here.

35th Great American Smokeout!

It's that time of year again... American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout is here!! This year is ACS's 35th GAS! Today thousands are expected to stamp out their cigarettes and make a plan to quit. If you know someone who smokes encourage them to make today the first day of their new, smoke-free life. Be there to offer your support! If you are a smoker, make the first step today to a healthier lifestyle by creating a quit plan. Quitting isn't easy, so lean on your friends and family for support, make a plan and start today! Here's a few resources from the American Cancer Society for those looking to kick the habit.

Know what you're up against. Click here for a guide to help you quit.

Know just what putting down that cigarette will mean for your health both short-term and long. Click here!

Find out what quitting will mean for you wallet. Click here!

Good luck and congratulations to everyone committing to a smoke-free lifestyle today!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Camel's Shameful Campaign

R.J. Reynolds is at it again. The company has launched a new campaign using "cool" and "hip" cities all over the country to market their addictive and poisonous product. Special edition packs of cigarettes will feature these cities with related artwork and slogans to make their products seem rebellious, hip and filled with a sense of freedom - all characteristics that attract youth attention. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and others are calling RJR to stop this campaign and asking state attorneys general to look into whether this move violates the 1998 state tobacco settlement's prohibition of marketing cigarettes to youth. As part of this campaign, RJR has launched an online component called the "Break Free Adventure," where you can win prizes by correctly guessing where in the country Camel is making a stop. You can see this campaign by clicking here.

Some of the cities and slogans featured on these packs will be:

Williamsburg-Brooklyn, New York - "Some call it the most famous hipster neighborhood. But it's not about  hip. It's about breaking free. It's about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building."
Austin, Texas "Name a live show that rocked history - we'll put money that Camel was there. So Camel two-steps its way to Texas for a Lone Star taste of that independent spirit and all-access pass to the 'live music capital of the world.'"
Seattle, Washington "Home of grunge, a coffee revolution and alternatives who'll probably tell you they're only happy when it rains."
San Francisco, California - "The Summer of Love, protests to be civil and a rainbow of counterculture. Whether you started here or put flowers in your hair, grabbed a drum and hitched a ride on a painted minibus, Camel lights up this little piece of San Francisco that pulses with the spirit to evolve, revolve or revolt and follows the force to break free."
and more.

The campaign is causing a stir with city officials in the locations Camel plans on featuring and is becoming a topic in newspapers and blogs.

Click here to read the article "Camel Smokes Out Brooklyn Locale" in the Wall Street Journal

Click here to read the article "Joe Camel - a hipster? R.J. Reynolds markets its smokes to Williamsburg" in The Brooklyn Paper

To learn more, read Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' press release here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wisconsin's Rate of Tobacco Sales to Minors Drop Again

For the eighth year in a row, illegal tobacco sales to minors in Wisconsin fall below the Federal target rate, Governor Doyle announced today.

According to a press release by the Department of Health Services, the noncompliance rate fell from 5.7 percent in 2009 to 4.7 percent in 2010. The release says this decline is largely a result of youth prevention efforts in our state.

 '"In Wisconsin, we are working hard to protect our kids from tobacco,"' said Governor Doyle in the release from DHS. '"This year's compliance survey is direct evidence that funding a comprehensive tobacco prevention program pays off. Credit also goes to retailers for helping to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors."'

Every state must stay below the 20 percent Federal target or they risk losing 40 percent of their federal grant funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment. In Wisconsin that would be around $10 million.

Read the full press release from DHS on WisPolitics here.

Read The Associated Press article about the decrease here.

Wall Street Journal on Negative Health Impacts When Tobacco Control Program Funding is Slashed

The Wall Street Journal: "States have cut their combined funding for smoking prevention in the current fiscal year to the lowest level since 1999," the WSJ article, published yesterday points out.

The article goes on to explore the backlashes many states have seen after their tobacco prevention and control programs experience significant funding cuts, similar to the cuts WI saw in 2009.

The trend the article finds is that when these cuts happen, the smoking rates in those states, many of which were falling significantly when the programs were well funded, quickly begin to stall.

Check out the the full article here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Reacts to CDC Report

Credit: CDC
The CDC released a report yesterday with state-by-state data on smokeless tobacco use rates. (We blogged about it below.) Here is an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on what these numbers mean for Wisconsin and why smokeless tobacco products worry health officials.

Check out the full article here!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CDC Releases First-Ever, State-by-State Smokeless Tobacco Data

For the first time ever, the CDC has released state-by-state data on smokeless tobacco use compared to smoking rates. They found many who smoke cigarettes also use smokeless tobacco products.

Here's where WI came in:

Current smoking rates among adults: 18.8% (that's down not even 1%)
    WI men smoke at a 3% higher rate than WI women
Current smokeless tobacco use rates among adults: 3.7 %
    WI men are 6 times more likely than WI women to use smokeless tobacco products
Current rate of cigarette smokers who also currently use smokeless tobacco: 6.1%
    WI men are 5% more likely to use these two products together than women.

In analyzing the data, the CDC also found...

  •     Smokeless tobacco use tends to decrease as education increases
  •    "Smokeless tobacco use is predominantly a public health problem among men, young adults and persons with lower education..."
  •     Young men have a high prevalence of using both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco 
  •     It is necessary that tobacco control groups push for media messages, policies and interventions to keep people from starting any of these products and to help those who already have quit
  •    Using both smokeless tobacco products and cigarettes together may hinder successful smoking cessation
  • To prevent tobacco-related deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that health care providers find out which tobacco products their patients use and advise them to quit. In combination with this effort, WHO recommends that taxes on tobacco be raised and smoke-free policies also be strengthened to reduce tobacco-related deaths.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tobacco Fight Far From Over - LTE

"We have a serious problem, and the new [smoke-free air] law is only one step in the right direction."

These words come from Lorraine Lathen, with the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network, whose letter to the editor was published in The Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee and The Journal Times in Racine.

One area Lathen targets for improvement in her letter, is the use of menthol in cigarettes to target African Americans, a community she represents through her coalition. She says in the article, "In the 1960's, the tobacco industry found that African Americans smoked more menthol cigarettes than non-menthol cigarettes. As a result of their findings, they began marketing menthol-flavored cigarettes in African American communities as well as in highly segregated urban communities... Sadly they have not stopped these marketing practices since." Her marketing claim is supported by the CDC.
pollay_ads Newp05.01

Lathen continues on to explain more about menthol in cigarettes, why it's appealing to some and why it's so dangerous.

She ends her letter encouraging readers to "Fight back today" by quitting their smoking habit or helping others they know to quit, volunteering with her coalition, and educating others on the impact menthol has in their communities.

Check out the full JS article here or JT article here.