MARINETTE — A report released by the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Population Health provides new details on the number of Wisconsin lives taken by tobacco use — including right here in Marinette County. The report shows between 2011 and 2015, an average of 85 county residents died annually from tobacco use.
The report also shows 22 percent of county residents were current cigarette smokers between 2011-2015, and 28 percent of county pregnant women smoked during their pregnancy. “It’s discouraging to see the Marinette County smoking rate higher than the state rate of 17 percent,” said Mary Rosner, Marinette County Health Officer. “However, just because we’re down, doesn’t mean we’re out. Wisconsin Wins is committed to reducing tobacco’s burden in Marinette County.”
The Wisconsin Wins (WI Wins) campaign is a science-based, state-level initiative designed to decrease youth access to tobacco products. WI Wins was launched in the spring of 2002 as part of a comprehensive approach to preventing youth access to tobacco.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services contracts with local partners, such as the Marinette County Public Health, to conduct investigations to establish retailer compliance with the law. Local initiatives also include retailer education and training, media outreach and community education.
WI Wins uses positive reinforcement to reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors. It congratulates local clerks who do not sell tobacco to youth, while educating those who would. This approach creates community pride by reducing youth access to tobacco products and providing youth a chance to make a difference in their community.
Fifty-seven tobacco compliance checks were recently conducted in Marinette County. Of the 57 retailers that were checked, 12 illegally sold tobacco products to youth. That equates to a 21 percent sales rate. “We would like to thank all of the retailers that did not sell tobacco to youth along with the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department and youth for assisting us with this program. Limiting access to tobacco among youth is an effective strategy to curb the tobacco epidemic by preventing smoking initiation and reducing the number of new smokers,” said Rosner.
Tobacco users who are ready to quit can also call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW for free quit help.