The state of Wisconsin has finally earned a top grade in tobacco control efforts. “We got an ‘A’ in smoke free air,” said Donna Wininsky with the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “That’s thanks to the law that was passed and implemented on July 5th last year. The smoke free air law that prevents smoking in our workplaces.” It’s the first such grade ever for the state, in the national Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report.
Wisconsin also earned a ‘B’ on cigarettes taxes ($2.52 a pack), as well as couple of ‘Fs’. One ‘F’ was for tobacco prevention and control funding. “That’s a product of the bad economy unfortunately, but it’s a great program, it’s showing fabulous results, and it deserves to be continued,” Wininski explained. “The other ‘F’ was in cessation. Again, that reflects low levels of funding to the state quit line.” She said the quit line ought be funded at approximately ten dollars per person, but is getting just a dollar per person. She added that other parts of the cessation program offered by the state – counseling and nicotine replacement therapies – are very good.
Also worrisome to Winisky, the fact that taxes remain relatively low on tobacco products such as little cigars and moist tobacco, making them attractive to youth. “Many those are flavored, candy flavored, chocolate, cherry, grape, that kind of thing,” she said. “We would like to see some sort of tax equalization so that those are taxed at the same rate that cigarette products are taxed.”