A report from the American Lung Association shows Wisconsin is falling behind in several key areas the organization says are important to reducing tobacco use.
The State of Tobacco Control report looks at several factors – such as funding for tobacco prevention and treatment programs. Wisconsin received a grade of “F” for its current level of funding for tobacco prevention program, the level of coverage and access to services to help people quit, and for still having minimum age for selling tobacco products that’s below 21.
The one area where Wisconsin did receive an “A” was on the strength of its smoke free workplace law. The state enacted a smoking ban in 2010.
Dona Wininsky with the American Lung Association of Wisconsin says the report shows the state has stagnated when it comes to passing new policies that can help reduce tobacco use among adults and teens. “There is something of a sentiment that once the smoke free air law was passed that the work was done and there doesn’t need to be anything more done to prevent tobacco use,” she argues.
While Wisconsin lawmakers have not introduced any bills that would help to improve Wisconsin’s current grades, Wininsky says there are other things they are still pushing for action on to help people quit tobacco or prevent them from ever starting in the first place. One is a bill that would require all tobacco products sold in stores to be behind the counter or in a locked cabinet. Wininsky says that includes products such as little cigars that have candy or fruit flavors in bright packaging, which may appeal to kids.
The bill has already passed in the state Senate, but is still awaiting action in an Assembly committee.