New Study Finds Fewer Wisconsinites Exposed to Secondhand Smoke Because of Smoke-free Law

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

(Press Release) Madison, Wis. – August 27, 2012 – A study released in the Wisconsin Medical Journal, today, shows that exposure to secondhand smoke has decreased both inside and outside the home since Wisconsin’s statewide smoke-free law went into place in July 2010. The study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, also found that passing legislation to make all Wisconsin workplaces smoke-free significantly led to more Wisconsinites adopting strict no-smoking policies in their homes.

“This report shows the benefits of the smoke-free law are far reaching,” said Allison Miller, Wisconsin Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society. “Not only does the smoke-free law continue to improve the health of Wisconsinites at work, but now we also know the benefits of this law don’t end when Wisconsin workers leave their jobs for the day. Wisconsin residents like breathing smoke-free air so much, they are taking smoke-free policies home with them.”

According to the article in the Wisconsin Medical Journal, researchers collected data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) from 2008 – 2010 and found the smoke-free law was associated with:

· Reduced exposure to smoke outside the home from 55 percent to 32 percent;
· Reduced exposure to smoke inside the home from 13 percent to 7 percent;
· An increase in Wisconsin residents with no-smoking policies in their homes from 74 percent to 80 percent.

Previous research has also shown the smoke-free law improved the health of bartenders and the air quality in bars and restaurants. This new study shows these benefits are now extending to Wisconsin homes, protecting even more residents, including children.

“Tobacco is a leading cause of cancer, a disease that claims the lives of more than 11,000 Wisconsinites each year,” said Miller. “By reducing exposure to secondhand smoke at work, inside the home and outside the home, we may reduce the number of people who hear the words, “you have cancer” and the number of lives lost to this disease in the future.”

Tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death in Wisconsin, associated with nearly 8,000 deaths annually. Tobacco costs the state $4.5 billion in health care costs and lost productivity each year.

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