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SmokeFree Wisconsin and American Lung Association in Wisconsin today highlighted a report released in the Wisconsin Medical Journal that shows that exposure to secondhand smoke has declined significantly since the smoke-free air law went into effect in July 2010. The study, which was conducted by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health researchers, found significant decreases in exposure to smoke inside the home, outside the home, and at work. It also showed that since the law went into effect, residents are more likely to institute no-smoking policies in their households.
“This report clearly shows that because of the smoke-free air law, residents across the state are able to breathe smoke-free air at home and work, and that is great for our families and children,” Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin, said. “We are encouraged that people are such great fans of smoke-free air that they are setting smoke-free policies in their own homes. We look forward to seeing the continued health benefits of smoke-free air for the people of Wisconsin and our future generations.”
The smoke-free air law protects workers and patrons from the known cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke by making all Wisconsin workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke free. Many Wisconsin residents have followed suit by voluntarily adopting smoke-free rules in their own homes.
The article reports that since the smoke-free air law went into effect:
• The percentage of residents exposed to smoke outside the home declined from 55% to 32%
• The percentage of residents exposed to smoke at home declined from 13% to 7%
• The percentage of residents with no-smoking policies in their households rose from 74% to 80%.
Previous studies and surveys have shown that the smoke-free law has dramatically improved the health of bartenders and the air quality at bars and restaurants. This study builds on those positive health results and underscores the importance of ensuring all Wisconsin residents can choose to live in smoke-free housing.
“Making your home smoke-free is a great way to promote the health of your family,” Dona Wininsky, Director of Public Policy and Communications of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, said. “It is encouraging to see the benefits of the smoke-free air law reaching homes across Wisconsin and we will continue to build on the success of smoke-free air as we fight to reduce the burden of tobacco in our state.”
Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in Wisconsin. Nearly 8,000 people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, and health care costs and lost productivity total $4.5 billion a year in Wisconsin.
Researchers surveyed state residents as part of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW). View the full report in the Wisconsin Medical Journal: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/3b0190ed#/3b0190ed/20