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Wisconsin Gets Mixed Grades in Annual Tobacco Report

GRAPHIC: The 2015 report card is out, and Wisconsin got mixed grades - an A, a B and two Fs - for efforts to control tobacco use. The report suggests Wisconsin needs to work on prevention and increase access to smoking cessation services. Graphic courtesy of American Lung Assn. Wisconsin.
GRAPHIC: The 2015 report card is out, and Wisconsin got mixed grades - an A, a B and two Fs - for efforts to control tobacco use. The report suggests Wisconsin needs to work on prevention and increase access to smoking cessation services. Graphic courtesy of American Lung Assn. Wisconsin.
January 22, 2015

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – The new 2015 American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control report has a mixed bag of grades for the Badger State:

An A for smoke-free air, a B for its level of tobacco taxes but an F in tobacco prevention and control funding. The state also received a failing grade for access to smoking cessation services.

Dr. Steven Brown, a Brookfield pulmonologist, says Wisconsin fared better than many other states, but he points out that tobacco use kills 7,000 Wisconsinites every year.

"Under almost any other circumstance, if you had 7,000 people die of a disease, you'd consider it a pandemic,” he states. “You would be getting major headlines – I mean, if 7,000 people died in Wisconsin from influenza, you know, it would make national headlines."

Brown maintains it's imperative that the state spend a great deal more money on smoking cessation programs.

"State of Wisconsin receives – through tobacco taxes, for example – over $600 million annually in revenue, yet less than 1 percent of that money goes towards smoking cessation programs," he points out.

According to the American Lung Association, despite decades of work, tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death.

While smoking rates are at their lowest level ever in Wisconsin, still 18 percent in the state are smokers, as well as 10 percent of high school students.

Brown adds smoking has staggering financial repercussions, and that it is far more expensive to treat smoking-related illnesses than to prevent them.

"We spend, in Wisconsin, billions of dollars annually – billions – in health care towards people who are the victims of smoking, and if that money could be targeted towards prevention of smoking, the investment would be huge," he stresses.

To get help quitting smoking, or find out more about the report and the work of the American Lung Association, call 1-800-LUNG-USA or go online to LungWI.org.




Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI