Friday, January 28, 2011

First Breath Programs Reaches 10,000 Participants

Since the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation's First Breath program started in 2001,10,000 pregnant women have participated, with 35% of those women, 3,500, successfully quitting smoking as a result of their involvement. Smoking during pregnancy is the leading cause of premature birth and low infant birth weight. It can also increase the risk of stillbirth and SIDS. In Wisconsin, 15% of pregnant women admit to smoking during pregnancy, according to First Breath. That's 2% more than the national average. To address this, Former First Lady Sue Ann Thompson started First Breath, a statewide, non-profit org focused on women's health. The program integrates cessation programs, including home visits and phone calls, into existing prenatal care models in an effort to ensure the baby's first breath is smoke-free!

The program estimates that since it started in 2001 it has saved almost $3 million in neonatal health care costs, according to their press release. In their release they also point out that preventing just two very low-birth weight premature babies each year saves Wisconsin Medicaid $400,000!

Congratulations to First Breath on reaching 10,000 participants! Thanks for your hard work!

To learn more about First Breath click here.

For an article on First Breath and those the program helps click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Smoke-free Ordinances Don't Hurt Business, Says New Study

A new study released by the UW-Madison Carbone Cancer Center found that hospitality businesses saw no negative economical impacts as a result of smoke-free ordinances in the years following implementation.

The study focused on Madison, Appleton, Eau Claire, Marshfield and Fond du Lac, cities with smoke-free ordinances. From 2005 to 2009, researchers analyzed changes in the number of alcohol licenses issued, employment in sub-sectors of the hospitality industry, the number of establishments, and citations for violations of the city ordinances. After comparing the data to cities without smoke-free ordinances, researchers found no adverse economic effects throughout the hospitality industry, including bars and taverns.

In addition, there were only three violations in five cities over the course of the research, according to the study. Researchers claim this suggests business owners did not find it more profitable to disobey the law and run the risk of citation fees.

This study tells us what we had been told by other states all along; over time, hospitality businesses, including bars and restaurants, are not negatively impacted as a result of smoke-free ordinances. Wisconsin's statewide smoke-free laws should see even more positive economical effects on businesses over time. 

We recognize it may take some individual customers and businesses time to adjust initially but this study shows that in the long-run, the hospitality industry performs as well as before implementation, if not better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New FDA Regulations Announced for Tobacco Companies

There's been talk about the new FDA regulations announced last week for tobacco companies, so I thought I'd make it the topic for today's blog post. It's a complex topic, but an important one so I'd like to highlight some of what these new regulations will hopefully mean both short-term and long-term.

As of March 22, 2011 tobacco companies must report any changes to existing products or any new products to the FDA or submit a report showing that the changes or the new product are "substantially equivalent" to products that were on the market before February 15, 2007. This means these products cannot be more harmful than products that existed on the market as of that date. Tobacco companies that made any changes to products or created new products between these dates are being asked to submit reports on these products by March 22, 2011.

This "unprecedented disclosure requirement" is similar to what food and pharmaceutical companies have had in place for a long time. It is meant to ensure that all tobacco products made or changed are evaluated by the FDA. Until this time, changes could be made to tobacco products secretly, without the millions of consumers in America even knowing what is in the product they are using.

If these new or changed products raise question of public health by being worse than existing products, they can be pulled from the market if already on the market today or the FDA can keep these products from being marketed in America. To meet this requirement, tobacco companies cannot simply prove the products are less harmful. That requirement will be balanced with the risk and benefit to the population as a whole, including those trying to quit who may get hooked on this new product, or those who are not currently using tobacco products that may become addicted as a result of this new product being marketed.

What this could potentially mean:

In the immediate future, the impact of this will mostly be seen by the tobacco companies themselves, but the long-term potential these regulations have is that fewer products that attract our youth and turn them into  lifetime, addicted, tobacco customers will be seen on the market. Because every new or changed product must go through a review process, tobacco companies will likely have to be more selective in what products they attempt to push through.

For more information on the new FDA regulations from the FDA's web site click here

For The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' Press Statement on the FDA regulations click here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Smoke-free New Year!

Now that we've all officially said goodbye to 2010 and have welcomed 2011, what are your plans to make this year great? The new year is a perfect excuse to quit smoking, if you're looking for a push. Not only will your decision to quit lead to a healthier you, but it will also give your wallet a healthy boost too (click for ACS's smoking cost calculator)!

If you are a smoker planning to kick the habit this year, click here to get help from the Wisconsin QuitLine. 

If you know someone trying to quit you can help by offering your support and letting them know you'll be there every step of the way!

Let's all have a healthy and smoke-free 2011 together!