July 5 marks 10 years that Wisconsin has been Smoke-Free in all indoor public places. This is a significant milestone for the health of all Wisconsinites.

Before the law passed, communities came together to learn about how cigarettes affected health and how secondhand smoke endangered all of our lives. They then took action to make our state safer and healthier. In our communities today, many youth do not remember being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places. An awesome accomplishment! The smoke-free air law changed the social norm, which has led to a reduction in youth and adult smoking rates.

Passage of the smoke-free air law gave us the opportunity to turn our focus to other needs and evidence-based solutions to prevent tobacco use and promote cessation. It also allowed work to begin on education of the dangers of e-cigarette use. The ultimate goal being inclusion of e-cigarettes into smoke-free air laws.

There is still work to do to prevent tobacco use and improve our health and safety. Tobacco continues to be the #1 preventable cause of disability, disease, and death. Work that needs to be done is listed below:

> Expand smoke-free environments like parks and outdoor eating areas.

> Increase the number of communities that include e-cigarettes into their Smoke Free Air policy.

> Taxing all tobacco products equally and product placement.

If you would like to join in local tobacco prevention and control efforts, please contact Mary Boe of Western Wisconsin Working for Tobacco-Free Living at mary.boe@co.polk.wi.us.

You can also learn about the statewide program at Partnership for a Tobacco Free Wisconsin, https://www.tobaccofreewisconsin.org/.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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