July Marks Nine-Year Anniversary of WI’s Clean Indoor Air Law

July 5th marked nine years since Wisconsin
enacted its Smoke-Free Air Law, which made places like bars and restaurants
smoke-free, and so far – health advocates say the law has been a success.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the adult smoking
rate has fallen to 16 percent, and the youth smoking is below five percent.

Despite those numbers, groups like the American Heart
Association and American Lung Association believe there is still work to do,
especially with E-Cigarettes. AHA spokeswoman Krystal Webb says one of their
goals is to raise the sales age for all tobacco products, including
E-Cigarettes from 18 to 21. She says that’s because “Kids who are under the age
of 18, they’re getting their vape pens and JUUL pods through their friends who
have just turned 18 or maybe an older sibling who’s 18 or 19 and can get those
legally,” Webb said. “If we’re able to bump that age up to 21, that’s just one
more avenue that we’re cutting off for middle-schoolers and high-schoolers who
are trying to find these products that just aren’t really good for their
developing brain and their developing bodies.”

DHS reports the youth E-Cigarette rate in Wisconsin rose
154-percent from 2014 to 2018, and Webb says they hope raising the purchasing
age is one step to help lower that number. Advocates also hope to expand the
clean indoor air law to include e-cigarettes, and increase funding to Wisconsin’s
tobacco prevention and control program as additional ways to reduce youth
e-cigarette use.

Listen to an interview with the American Heart Association on their tobacco prevention efforts here.