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News Summary

It's time to clear the air in workplaces

Publication Date: 2007-11-20
  • Author:Allison Miller
  • Publication:Chetek Alert

One of the most strongly debated issues still facing the Legislature this month is when to make all Wisconsin's workplaces smoke-free. Wisconsin is quickly falling behind nationally and in the Midwest in protecting the health of its citizens and lowering health care costs; one of the quickest, most effective ways to change this is to pass the proposed Breathe Free Wisconsin Act.

As proposed the act protects all Wisconsin residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke, including increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and other respiratory problems. On Oct. 1, Minnesota became smoke-free and Illinois will do so in January. Wisconsin needs to be next.

The Great American Smoke Out on Thursday, Nov. 15, was yet another chance for Wisconsin lawmakers and health care advocates to kick the habit. Wisconsin, once considered a leader in good public health, is losing ground to other states. According to the 2007 America's Health Rankings report released Nov. 5, Wisconsin recently dropped from 10th to 12th in overall health in part because of high tobacco use. Action needs to be taken. The drumbeat is growing and the message is clear-the people of Wisconsin want to go smoke-free.

According to a survey conducted by the nationally recognized Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, almost 70 percent of Wisconsinites believe it's time to stop smoking in public places. The survey also found two-thirds of Wisconsin voters favor a statewide smoke-free law, including bars and restaurants.