Fewer Wisconsin youth are smoking cigarettes than ever before, but more of them are reporting using e-cigarettes, according to the 2016 Youth Tobacco Survey, a report released by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
View the entire press release
U.S. HUD Announces Final Rule to Make Public Housing Smoke-Free
All 3,100 public housing agencies in the U.S. will be required to go smoke-free in the next eighteen months thanks to a new rule released by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on November 30, 2016. The rule requires that the agencies enact smoke-free policies that apply to all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of buildings.
Health advocates say smoke-free policies are necessary to protect all residents from secondhand smoke, which can leak into non-smoking units from neighboring units where smoking occurs. In addition, the policies reduce the risk of fire since smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the country.
The new rule is expected to improve the health of more than 2 million public housing residents, including 760,000 children. It’s also estimated to save $153 million annually in health care, home repair, and fire costs. “The rule protects the most vulnerable, including children, from the effects of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains more than 70 substances known to cause cancer and over 7,000 other chemicals” said Elizabeth Hagen.
While members of Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco Free Living Coalition (W3TFL) expressed overall enthusiasm for the rule, they also noted there was room for improvement. “Electronic cigarettes are not included in the new rule, however housing authorities do have the option to include e-cigarettes into their individual policies and we highly encourage them to do so!” said Elizabeth Hagen.
Additional benefits beyond improving health include reducing cleaning and maintenance costs. New data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services also shows that three quarters of adults living in multi-unit housing want a no-smoking policy.
Elizabeth Hagen also shared that Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco Free Living Coalition (W3TFL) is available to help public housing make the switch. “We can also assist private property owners to develop a smoke-free policy for their properties as well. We can help notify tenants, decide what areas their policy will cover, set up enforcement procedures and provide model lease language.”
View the rule.
Secondhand emissions from electronic smoking devices are not harmless
Cities, states, businesses should prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices in smokefree spaces
On December 8th 2016 in a landmark report, the Office of the Surgeon General affirmed the growing body of research about the health hazards of electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
"E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General" is a call to action for governments and institutions to close gaps in smokefree policies that leave people exposed to secondhand smoke or secondhand e-cigarette emissions.
“Secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless water vapor,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy at the press conference announcing the report. “The aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. State and local leaders should take action to address e-cigarette use and exposure to secondhand aerosol by including e-cigarettes into smokefree policies and laws, preventing access to e-cigarettes by youth, price and tax policies, retail licensure, regulation of e-cigarette marketing likely to attract youth, and educational initiatives targeting youth and young adults."
This report reaffirms why Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) has long advocated for protecting nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol in venues like airplanes, workplaces, and other smokefree spaces. “Regardless of the debate over whether these products serve a role in tobacco smoking cessation, there is simply no need to use them inside shared air spaces where others are then subject to the hazardous secondhand emissions,” said Cynthia Hallett, MPH, President and CEO of ANR. “E-cigarettes create a new form of indoor air pollution and should be used in ways that do not negatively impact the health of nonsmokers.”
Today, more than 566 localities and 10 states now specifically prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in all smokefree spaces, and it is now a standard component of smokefree indoor air laws.
E-cigarette industry proponents, including tobacco companies, aggressively lobby to allow use of their products inside smokefree environments. Their goal is not public health, but rather to maximize profits by enabling product consumption inside otherwise smokefree environments and to create a new generation that is addicted to nicotine. While smoking rates continue to decline across the U.S., the rates of e-cigarette use are increasing among youth and young adults, as confirmed by today’s Surgeon General’s Report.
Research shows that e-cigarettes and vaping devices produce high levels of harmful ultra-fine particles that can damage the respiratory system. E-cigarette proponents may falsely claim that the chemical aerosol emitted by these products is completely harmless and only contains “water vapor.” In fact, these products produce a dense visible aerosol of liquid sub-micron droplets consisting of glycols, nicotine, volatile organic
compounds, and carcinogens (e.g., formaldehyde, metals like cadmium, lead, & nickel, and nitrosamines).
While some may believe the product is “safer” than a conventional cigarette, the use of and exposure to e-cigarettes certainly isn't harmless or risk-free. Even substances used to flavor e-cigarette liquids that might be safe for eating have not been tested for safety as a heated, inhaled aerosol.
E-cigarettes and vaping devices are unregulated – there is simply no way to know what is in one device vs. the thousands of others. They are not one standardized chemical product, but thousands of different ones - many of which are produced off-shore, then bought and sold with no requirement for ingredient disclosure or quality control. These devices can also be used to vape a wide range of substances from nicotine e-juice and hash oil to flakka (a synthetic drug). Some devices even have multiple chambers for vaping different products.
The Surgeon General’s Report confirms that we have enough science to make an intelligent decision that secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless and that it is a new source of air pollution. Communities and states should take the opportunity to protect public health from exposure to secondhand aerosol by prohibiting the use of electronic smoking devices in all smokefree spaces.
View the report or visit the website.
Thank You Tobacco Retailers!
On behalf of Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco-Free Living (W3TFL), we wish to thank all the tobacco retailers that were checked in 2016 and did not sell tobacco to minors during the Wisconsin Wins tobacco compliance checks.
The rate of retailers that sold across the state in 2016 is 7.2%; meaning 92.8% of the tobacco retailers across the state are in compliance with the law!
Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco-Free Living completed the compliance checks in Barron County, Burnett County, Pierce County, Polk County, Rusk County and St. Croix County. Overall between the six counties 38 retailers sold to minors during our checks this year, which means 85.4% of the establishments checked within the six counties are in compliance with the law which prohibits sales of tobacco to anyone under the age of 18!
- Barron County had 1 sale to a minor – 97.8% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
- Burnett County had 1 sale to a minor – 96.7% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
- Pierce County had 11 sales to minors – 65.6% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
- Polk County had 9 sales to minors – 84.5% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
- Rusk County had 3 sales to minors – 86.4% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
- St. Croix County had 13 sales to minors – 82.2% of retailers are in compliance with the law!
Thank you again to the retailers who help keep tobacco out of the hands of our youth!