Saturday, December 25, 2010

Help Keep Wisconsin Smoke-free This Holiday!

It’s already December and winter seems to have suddenly moved in. We’ve had plenty of snowfall and temperatures are staying low enough to keep hats on our heads and our hands tucked in mittens. With the winter weather comes a special time of year and you can already feel the excitement that lingers in the air for the upcoming holidays. It’s cookie baking, ornament making, hot cocoa tasting time! A time where we snuggle by a fire with our family and friends and recap where the past year has taken us.

This season, as we look back and see where the year has taken SmokeFree Wisconsin, we are grateful for you, our supporters, for all you have helped us accomplish this year, including the implementation of the statewide smoke-free law.

Looking ahead to 2011, we know we may have to fight to keep this hard-won legislation and we’ll need your help to win the battle. Please donate as much as you can today by clicking here.

Here’s a glimpse at the lives the law has already changed in the nearly 6 months since its implementation.

Colleen makes her living working as a server in a bar/restaurant in Milwaukee. For Colleen, just 8 months ago, going to work meant possibly exposing herself and her unborn child to the 7,000 known chemicals and compounds found in second hand smoke. At that time Colleen was pregnant and her place of employment allowed smoking after 10 pm.

 “I dreaded it on those nights because I knew it was going to happen,” said Colleen.  “I’d hide in the kitchen and run out quickly when I had to. I didn’t want second hand smoke for my baby and the smell made me sick. I was pregnant so everything made me sick but the smell was overwhelming.”

This holiday season, she and little baby Connor are delighted the air is finally cleared and she is grateful to live in a state that has her back, looking out for her health each day she goes into work.

“It’s nice to not have to come home from work to the baby smelling like smoke. I feel healthier too. I think everyone’s happy about our smoke-free state.”

So when you look back on 2010 and think of what you’re grateful for, keep Wisconsin’s smoke-free law in mind and donate $50, $75 or $100 today to help SmokeFree Wisconsin fight to keep this life-saving legislation.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Happy holidays from our office to your home.

P.S. SmokeFree Wisconsin is a 501(c)3 organization. Therefore, your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.

Monday, December 20, 2010

SmokeFree Wisconsin Receives Grant to Work with Wisconsin Tribes

Madison, Wis. – Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights granted SmokeFree Wisconsin (SFW) $136,000 to extend smoke-free protection to Tribal workplaces.

In July 2010, Wisconsin made history becoming the 28th state to implement a smoke-free law, protecting the right of all workers to have a smoke-free workplace. However, this law did not apply to Tribal lands because they are sovereign. This leaves up to 78,000 people unprotected from the benefits of smoke-free air. Now, SFW is teaming with Tribes around the state to expand smoke-free protections for employees.

 “We are very excited to work with the Tribes on this issue,” said Maureen Busalacchi, Executive Director of SmokeFree Wisconsin. “Wisconsin is not 100% smoke-free until all workers are protected.  We look forward to working collaboratively so that all Tribal work places are healthier places to be.”

Funds for this project will go toward working with Tribes in garnering additional media attention, community education, grassroots, and implementing smoke-free workplaces.

“Our programs are very excited to collaborate with SFW,” said Teresa K. Barber and Isaiah Brokenleg of Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council who work on ending tobacco abuse in Indian Country. “We look forward to realizing a world where everyone is free from the harms of commercial tobacco, including those of us who play, work or live on reservations.”

The grant money, covering an 18-month period beginning this month, will also be used for promoting and protecting Wisconsin’s smoke-free law.

Friday, December 17, 2010

National Survey Shows Signs of Smoking Increasing Among Young Teens, Smokeless Tobacco Rates Up Too

In the last decade, teen smoking has been cut in half in Wisconsin, a result of an effective tobacco prevention and control program in our state, among other things. But a new national study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, finds the decrease in teen smoking rates nationwide has largely stopped and use in young teens is beginning to swing back up.

The "2010 Monitoring the Future" study has been tracking teen smoking in the US for 36 years. This year, the study, designed and conducted by the University of Michigan, found that smoking among 8th graders and 10th graders increased a small amount and rates of smokeless tobacco use, specifically snus, in 8th, 10th and 12th graders has increased significantly in the last few years.

These results come at a time when many states are cutting back on tobacco prevention and control funding. Wisconsin decreased funding for the state's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program by 55% in 2009. In order to keep the hard-won decreases in youth smoking rates in our state, we must adequately fund the Program. Youth smoking rates are ever-changing so let's continue standing up for our kids and help them make the right choices, avoiding a lifetime of addiction at the hands of the Tobacco Industry.

Wisconsin has made great efforts to improve the health of those who live, work and play here. It's time to make the healthy choice the right choice for ourselves and the children in our communities! Let's keep the momentum moving forward and avoid the backlash other states have seen!

For more information on the 2010 Monitoring the Future study click here.

To view the press release on the study from the University of Michigan click here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Research Shows Significant Improvement in Air Quality of Wisconsin Bars and Restaurants

Air Quality “Good” or “Satisfactory” in 97% of establishments tested after Smoke-free Law

A new study released by the University of Wisconsin found that air quality significantly improved after the smoke-free law took effect on July 5, 2010.

Air quality is measured by the amount of small particles found within the air. The size of these particles, which tobacco smoke is the leading cause of in indoor air, allows them to penetrate deeply within lung tissue and walls of arteries.

From April 2 – June 18, 2010, researchers visited 214 establishments statewide recording the air quality. At this time, the average air quality level was categorized as “very unhealthy” according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) standards.

After implementation of Wisconsin’s smoke-free law, tests were again conducted from August 28 – October 23 in establishments previously found to have “unhealthy” air quality. During these visits, researchers found 97 percent of the establishments had air quality categorized as “good” or “satisfactory.”

 “These findings demonstrate the incredibly positive impact the smoke-free law is already having on the environments of Wisconsin’s workplaces,” said Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin. “No one’s workplace should be hazardous to their health and this study further proves our workers are now breathing in cleaner, healthier air throughout their workday. This legislation is literally life-saving.”

The study also provides further evidence of high-compliance throughout the state, in line with recent data released by the Department of Health Services which found less than one percent of Wisconsin’s nearly 200,000 businesses are in violation of the law.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Research Shows MN Smoke-free Law Improves Health Without Economic Harm!

A new study published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found Minnesota's smoke-free law, which took effect in October of 2007, has not adversely affected bar and restaurant employment in the state.

The research conducted at the University of Minnesota found no statistically significant changes in bar and restaurant employment statewide or regionally after the state's smoke-free air law went into effect. (Employment is a key indicator of economic impact.)

A second study highlighted in AJPM  found that air pollution from secondhand smoke particles in bars and restaurants decreased by 95% after the statewide smoke-free law was implemented.

These studies are further evidence that smoke-free laws quickly clear the air, improving the health of our workers without causing negative economic impacts to businesses.

To read full study in AJPM click here.

To read SmokeFree Wisconsin and American Cancer Society's press release click here.

To learn more about the studies and Minnesota's Clean Air Act click here