Members will advocate for Smoke-Free Policies Statewide, fight underage tobacco sales
Calling all clean-air advocates! The Milwaukee Smoke- Free Alliance is looking for new members to work on behalf of a tobacco-free Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance is a coalition of public health officials, community members, and national and local organizations working to ensure a safer, healthier, smoke-free Wisconsin.The Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance will:
- Advocate for clean-air policies such as the Wisconsin Smoke-Free Act, which went into effect July 5 prohibiting smoking in bars, restaurants and all other workplaces in Wisconsin; and Milwaukee ’s new smoke-free ordinance, signed into law on July 29 by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
- Support the City of Milwaukee Health Department and the Milwaukee Police Department to ensure that Milwaukee stays smoke-free.
- Work with Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco (FACT)—a Wisconsin-based, youth-led movement founded in 2001— to reduce youth access to tobacco, including educating local retailers on the importance of prohibiting tobacco sales to underage consumers. Current members of the Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance include the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network, the United Migrant Opportunity Service, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest , the Salvation Army and the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network.
Membership in the Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance is free; to become a member, sign up online at www.ca-ppi.org, or contact Robert Cherry, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute Public Health Systems Coordinator, at (414) 270-2953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Wisconsin Smoke-Free Act and the City of Milwaukee ordinance were tremendous steps toward ensuring clean air throughout the state, and the culmination of many years of hard work by clean-air advocates,” said Cherry. “The City of Milwaukee Health Department and the Milwaukee Police Department are doing a tremendous job enforcing the laws, and the Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance has a great working relationship with each department. However, ensuring the success of the laws, as well as educating the public on smoke-free initiatives, will be an ongoing process, and the Alliance needs clean-air advocates in Milwaukee to get on board and lend their time, energy and expertise to the cause.” The Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance Needs You!
The effects of the Wisconsin Smoke-Free Act have been overwhelmingly positive. A recent report on air quality in Wisconsin’s restaurants and taverns by the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center showed a 92 percent improvement since the smoking ban went into effect July 5. The study analyzed air quality both before and after implementation of the Wisconsin Smoke-Free Act in 214 bars and restaurants where smoking was allowed.
However, despite these improvements, some Milwaukee- area business owners are allowing smoking in their establishment, in gross violation of the law and the good health of their patrons and employees.
In addition, certain tobacco retailers are not complying with laws prohibiting sales to minors. A recent investigation by Wisconsin Wins (WI Wins)—a science-based, state-level initiative designed to decrease youth access to tobacco products—showed that nearly 88 percent of Milwaukee retailers complied with regulations restricting tobacco sales to underage consumers, which is down slightly from 2009, when more than 91 percent of retailers investigated were in compliance.
The checks were conducted with representatives of FACT and the City of Milwaukee Police Department pursuant to Wisconsin statute 254.916.
According to Cherry, it is here that the Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance can have a positive effect in the city.
“We’ve seen bar owners charging their customers for ashtrays or matches to fund a kitty in case they get a ticket for allowing smoking. And we’ve seen retailers selling tobacco products to youths,” said Cherry. “This behavior flies in the face of laws passed to protect workers in taverns, restaurants and all other workplaces in Wisconsin; and laws passed to protect our kids from tobacco.
Members of the Milwaukee Smoke-Free Alliance can work with enforcement officials to help educate these owners on the importance of ensuring a smoke-free working environment for the employees and laws that prohibit sales of tobacco products to underage consumers,” he said.
Community Advocates’ Public Policy Institute has clear and simple goals: To explain why so many Milwaukeeans are poor, and to develop and implement a practical strategy to reduce poverty throughout Wisconsin.