This month marks 10 years since Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law began, prohibiting smoking in enclosed public spaces.
Locally, Jenny Chiamulera is a community health specialist for Oneida county and leads the Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition. She says the law has been around long enough to have some data on it's impact...
"According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, in 2008, before the smoke-free air law passed, 21 percent of high school youth smoked cigarettes. By 2018, 8 years after the law went into effect, that rate has dropped to 5 percent..."
Chiamulera says a generation of youth have grown up with the new law. She says adult rates also also dropped to 16 percent, also fueled by an increase in the tobacco tax. Chiamulera says one negative trend has been an uptick in the use of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes were not included in the smoke-free air law and says there are things to consider in their use.
She says potentially there's nicotine in the vapor, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals...
"The good news is over the past few years, some Wisconsin communities have passed ordinances prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public places. About 36 percent of the state's population is protected from the second-hand aerosols..."
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that e-cigarettes not be used indoors in order to minimize the risk to bystanders of breathing in the aerosol emitted by the devices.
Chiamulera says there's free help available to quit smoking at the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUITNOW(784-8669)