Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clean Up Day at HFW

It's never too late to do a little spring cleaning! Yesterday was clean-up day at Health First Wisconsin. We deleted thousands of emails, filled up multiple recycling bins and emptied out plenty of file folders! It sure was nice to walk into a cleaner, more organized office this morning. Hidden inside some of the drawers and file cabinets we found some real gems!

In going through fliers created by other organizations we found an old picture of a new friend that we can't wait to share with her...

...We found a fun mixed CD from a colleague (thanks, Kyle)...

...And a neat reminder that some of our champions have been at this for a long time, too - these ads below ran in 2001!

Not all of us quiiiite finished cleaning out our inboxes though... not to mention any names. You know who you are. ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Smoking and Tobacco Use in Top Ranking Movies Significantly Reduced

Between 2005 and 2010 the total number of onscreen tobacco incidents decreased 71.6 percent! In 2010 the average number of incidents of tobacco use per youth-rated movie was 6.8, compared to 20.1 in 2005. This  drop is especially exciting because, according to a 2010 meta-analysis of four studies, 44 percent of youth smoking initiation is attributed to viewing tobacco incidents in movies. By exposing our youth to fewer tobacco incidents in movies, we can reduce the number of kids who become lifetime customers of Big Tobacco - currently 4,000 kids in US try smoking for the first time every single day!

So making sure that tobacco use doesn't look cool in kids' favorite movies is important. Between 2004 and 2007, three of the six major motion picture companies adopted policies which provide review of scripts, story boards, daily footage, rough cuts and the final edited film by a manager to monitor tobacco incidents. While tobacco imagery is not banned completely within these policies, these three companies have eliminated tobacco depictions almost entirely in their G, PG and PG-13 rated movies.

Despite this great news, there's still work to be done to get tobacco out of movies our kids see. The World Health Organization and many other public health groups and health professionals recommend that tobacco use in movies automatically set the rating to R unless the movie portrays a historical character who smoked or shows the real, negative effects of tobacco use. Other recommendations include showing ads that warn viewers of the dangers of tobacco use before movies that depict smoking or use of other tobacco products, and "certifying no payments for depicting tobacco use and ending depiction of tobacco brands," according to MMWR report.

But the reduction we're seeing now is certainly a great step and certainly worth celebrating... perhaps with a trip to the theater?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Smoke-free Law Shows Positive Opinions One Year Later

One year later, and the verdict is in - Wisconsin is better smoke-free. A recent satisfaction survey released by a coalition of health groups around the state, including SmokeFree Wisconsin, shows Wisconsin residents widely agree—in fact, 75% of potential voters in our state support the Smoke-free law.

After being implemented on July 5th, 2010, we have seen tremendous health benefits from Wisconsin’s statewide smoke-free law and it’s only been one year!

Here’s a quick recap on how far we’ve come in the last year and how great the law has been:

An air quality test in Wisconsin’s bars and restaurants done by the Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center found unhealthy air in bars and restaurants has decreased 92 percent. This fact is one reason Jessica Schlitz, a bartender at the Uptowner in Riverwest, supports the smoke-free law.

“I love it! Before, it used to be around 3 or 4 o’clock and already you’d have to part the smoke with your hands,” she said in an interview with the UWM Post in January.

Schlitz isn’t the only one noticing the difference. Bartenders’ health around the state has greatly improved with the smoke-free law. Upper respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath have decreased 36 percent in bartenders, according to a study released earlier this year by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Making sure all workers in Wisconsin, like Schlitz, have the right to work in a smoke-free workplace is important to Wisconsin citizens as 85 percent surveyed believe that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard in the above-mentioned survey.

In addition to the great health impact it’s had on workers and customers, the smoke-free law has even been good for business! In an economic study released this year, UW-Madison found that cities with smoke-free laws before the whole state went smoke-free saw no adverse economic effects on the hospitality industry when compared to cities without smoke-free ordinances. Now that the whole state is smoke-free, we’re seeing the same positive effect, overall.

Mike Wier, restaurant owner of Kroll’s West in Green Bay said in an interview with WLUK-TV Fox, Green Bay in January, “It was an interesting situation. We had people that were coming back that had been old customers, and they liked the idea that now it was smoke-free.” This coincides with the satisfaction survey, which found 91 percent of Wisconsin residents said they go out the same or more often now that bars and restaurants are smoke-free.

Mike Fassino, owner of Paddy Ryan’s Irish Pub in Hudson agreed that business has not been affected saying he sees “no drawback whatsoever as far as business goes.”

This sentiment was strongly echoed again by Danielle Baerwald, owner of Erv’s Mug in Oak Creek who says their business has been up 20 percent since the smoke-free law was implemented.

“We’re seeing faces and families again who had actually stopped coming in because of how much smoke their used to be coming from the bar,” Baerwald said. “Folks who did smoke in our establishment have adapted quickly to the change and don’t mind going outside to smoke. Even some of my smoking staff say they’ve cut down on how much they smoke because of it. And the rest of my staff has appreciated the change. The law has been good for me and for my customers and employees.”

With the smoke-free law in place statewide, no worker has to choose between their health and a paycheck in Wisconsin. Compliance data from the department of health services shows more than 99% of Wisconsin’s businesses are complying with the law. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the statewide smoke-free law has been a great success.

Andrew Kron, owner of Pier 500 in Hudson, summed up this success best in his interview with . “The experience I’ve had going smoke-free is it’s been a benefit to not only our guests, but also our staff. From the health standpoint I truly do understand why it’s in place. It makes for a much healthier state and levels the playing field for everyone. We’ve had increases every month, so we’re happy.”

If you are looking to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the smoke-free law today, click here for a list of the celebrations going on statewide.

For more information on the satisfaction poll released by a coalition of health groups on Thursday, June 30th, 2011, click here.