Wisconsin WINS is excited to announce that since the spring of 2002, statewide tobacco sales to minors have dropped from over 20 percent to less than 6 percent. The campaign, which is a science-based, state-level initiative, focuses on decreasing youth access to tobacco products.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services contracts with local partners to conduct investigations to establish retailer compliance with the law. Local initiatives also include retailer education and training, media outreach and community education. The Northwest Tobacco Free Coalition (Iron, Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Washburn and Sawyer counties) conducts compliance checks under the Wisconsin WINS program.
Wisconsin WINS uses positive reinforcement to reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors. It congratulates local clerks who do not sell tobacco to youth, while educating those who are out of compliance. This approach creates community pride by reducing youth access to tobacco products and engages youth to make a difference in their community.
Individuals interested in keeping tobacco products out of the hands of youth have several options. Considering thanking retailers in your area for checking identification of persons purchasing tobacco; also lending your support for the enforcement of our youth tobacco access laws. Do not buy or give tobacco products to youth. Research shows that over 80 percent of tobacco users start in their teen years and often face a lifelong struggle against addiction.
For more information about Wisconsin WINS, other tobacco issues or to support the coalition work please contact Kristy Seaver, Program Manager, (715) 919-0806 or Marilyn Jenkins, Coalition Development, (715) 798-3807. The Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW is available for support in quitting a tobacco addiction.
This article was submitted by Marilyn Jenkins with the Northwest Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition.