Tobacco-free coalitions work to make a difference
Nearly 2,250 Wisconsinites die from smoking-induced lung cancer; that accounts for 79 percent of all lung cancer deaths, according to the 2010 Burden of Tobacco in Wisconsin report.
Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death, and lung cancer caused by smoking is a major factor. Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).
While smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, radon is the second leading cause, occurring in non-smokers, according to the ALA. Radon, which is an invisible gas, can be found in any home. It can be detected and removed from the home.
African Americans have higher smoking rates than the general population; one-third of them smoke, and they bear an unequal burden from smoking related diseases. Research shows they have more cases of lung and bronchus cancer than the general population (96.5 cases per 100,000 population vs. 62.5 cases per 100,000 population).
“It is disheartening to see how African Americans are affected by tobacco burden,” said Lorraine Lathen, co-convener of the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN). “Lung Cancer Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to reach out to the community.”
To reduce and eventually eliminate tobacco related health disparities, tobacco networks are hosting and partnering on a number of events throughout November.
The WAATPN and New Concept Self-Development Center, Inc. will partner with local churches to host Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? The health screenings will educate participants on secondhand smoke and the effects of smoking during pregnancy and around young children.
The WAATPN will also partner with the Church Outreach Coalition of St. Gabriel’s Church of God in Christ to coordinate a week of prayer, November 15—November 21, for lung cancer to raise awareness of tobacco-related lung cancer. Participating churches will disseminate educational materials, facilitate workshops and convene for a collective prayer service.
“It is very important for the church to get involved in community issues; when the church gets involved, change happens,” said Senior Pastor Lee Shaw. “I have been working on tobacco issues for almost a decade and have seen firsthand the devastating effects of tobacco—especially on the African American community. The church must engage the battle if victory is to be won.”
On November 15th, the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network (WTPPN) of the Salvation Army will host Wisconsin is Now Smokefree; How About You? The hour-long event will educate residents on the process of cessation planning.
November 18th is the Great American Smokeout—the national quit smoking day. The WAATPN will host an event for the Great American Smokeout at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. The event, sponsored by UWParkside’s Black Student Union, will feature a fraternity and sorority step competition titled Stomp Da Butts Out. Event participants will acknowledge lung cancer survivors and victims with a moment of silence and memory board on which participants can post a loved one’s name. A similar event will be hosted by the WAATPN at Beloit College on November 18.
For more information on these events contact Alanna Brown at 262-643-4526. Smokers who want to quit should talk to their doctor or call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-NO SMOKE.
Disparities: Tobacco continues to have a disproportionate impact on specific populations and demographics both locally and nationally. The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) of the Department of Health Services funds five networks that are working to eliminate tobacco-related disparities. The five funded networks include:
The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network, convened by Jump at the Sun Consultants, LLC and St. Gabriel’s Church of God in Christ;
The Wisconsin Asian Tobacco Prevention Network, convened by WI United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations (WUCMAA); The Wisconsin Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Prevention Network, convened by UMOS; The Wisconsin Native American Tobacco Network, convened by the Great Lakes Inter-Trial Council, Wisconsin Tribes Putting Prevention to Work and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center; And the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network, convened by the Salvation Army.
For more information on the networks visit the connect and coalitions and state partners links at www.tobwis.org.