Monday, August 27, 2012

Smoke-Free Air Encouraging Healthier Wisconsin Homes, Workplaces

Today an encouraging new study was published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal showing the success of the smoke-free air law in decreasing secondhand  smoke exposure.

The study, which was conducted by University of Wisconsin Medicine and Public Health researchers,  showed that there was a significant decrease in second hand smoke exposure inside, outside, and at work.

The study also found that since the smoke-free air act went into effect in July 2010, residents have become more likely to adopt a smoke-free policy in their own homes.

This report clearly shows that because of the smoke-free air law, residents across the state are able to breathe smoke-free air at home and work. That is great news for our families and children.

It’s tremendously encouraging to see that people are such great fans of smoke-free air that they are setting smoke-free policies in their own homes.

The smoke free air law allows all workers and patrons to be protected from the well- known, cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke by ensuring that all Wisconsin workplaces, including restaurants and bars, are smoke free.

Specifically, the report shows that since the Smoke-Free Air law went into place:
  • The percentage of residents exposed to smoke outside the home declined from 55% to 32%
  • The percentage of residents exposed to smoke at home declined from 13% to 7%
  • The percentage of residents with non-smoking policies in their households rose from 74% to 80%.

This study is not the only report that has shown the great success of the smoke-free air law. Previous studies and surveys have shown that the smoke-free air law has greatly increased the health of Wisconsinites, including Wisconsin’s bartenders. This report builds on the growing amount of evidence of the health benefits of the smoke-free air law and  underscores the importance of ensuring that all Wisconsin residents  are able to choose to live in smoke-free housing.

The success of smoke-free air is an important step in promoting a healthier Wisconsin. 

But much work remains. Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in Wisconsin. Nearly 8,000 people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, and health care costs and lost productivity total $4.5 billion a year in Wisconsin. Smoke-free air is helping to turn these statistics around and we will continue to work together to reduce the burden of tobacco and promote the health of all people in Wisconsin.  

We look forward to seeing the continued health benefits of smoke-free air for the people of Wisconsin and our future generations.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Join the Movement to Transform Wisconsin

The tremendous burdens of obesity and tobacco on our state are well-known. Earlier this week, the CDC released new data showing that more than a quarter (27.7%) of Wisconsinites are obese, and the national costs related to obesity are staggering. A separate study released this week underscored the importance of promoting smoke-free living, reporting that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke outdoors experience significant, lingering health effects.

By joining the Transform Wisconsin movement, you have an opportunity to do something to reverse these trends and improve the health of your community.

Transform Wisconsin is a new statewide effort that seeks to improve the health of our communities.  It is founded on the idea that health doesn’t happen in the doctor’s office – it happens where we live, work, and play.

At its core, Transform Wisconsin is about solutions.

In late July, the Transform Wisconsin Coalition awarded 30 grants, totaling $6.6 million over the next 26 months, to diverse community organizations across the state. Transform Wisconsin Coalition leaders, local grantees and community members gathered to announce the news at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Stoney Acres Farm in Athens (near Wausau), Emerson Elementary School in La Crosse, the North Beach Gazebo in Racine, and the Eastside YMCA in Green Bay. 

Twenty-four communities are receiving an Impact Grant, which will focus on one of three key areas: expanding smoke free environments to include apartment buildings, strengthening farm to school programs so Wisconsin students have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, or increasing physical activity for kids by promoting and implementing open gyms between schools and community agencies. 

In addition, six communities are receiving a Transform Wisconsin Grant, which will focus efforts on all three key areas. In total, the projects will reach over 2.6 million people in Wisconsin, or about half of the state’s population. 

Transform Wisconsin is an unprecedented opportunity for individuals and communities to come together to improve health through innovative and effective local policies.

We all agree we want our kids to be safe and healthy. Together, we can – and we will – transform Wisconsin to a place where kids eat fresh, local fruits and vegetables at school; community members use schools for physical activity; and everyone has an opportunity to live in smoke-free housing.

Through Transform Wisconsin, communities across the state will improve health by making it easier for all residents to make healthy choices.

Everyone has a role in solving obesity and preventing chronic diseases. We invite doctors, teachers, farmers, and people in communities across the state to come together to find solutions that work for Wisconsin.

We need you to join the Transform Wisconsin movement! Visit today and sign up to receive updates or volunteer for a project in your community.