MADISON, Wis. (July 5, 2020) – Celebrating ten years since Wisconsin’s Clean Indoor Air law went into effect on July 5th, 2010, public health advocates say the Legislature needs to include e-cigarettes in the law, statewide.
E-cigarettes produce an aerosol that can contain potentially harmful substances including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; cancer-causing chemicals; volatile organic compounds; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. Only about 1/3 of residents in the state of Wisconsin are protected by local ordinances prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public indoor spaces, underscoring the need for the law to be statewide.
In the ten years since the Clean Indoor Air law was implemented, the smoking landscape has changed drastically. Much work remains to ensure Wisconsin residents truly have access to clean air in their workplaces, including bars, restaurants, and other indoor areas.
“E-cigarette use has continued to grow in popularity beyond what we could have imagined in 2010,” said Dona Wininsky, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association. “Nicotine addiction poses both dangerous short and long-term effects on the lungs, brain and heart. It is our duty to ensure the safety and health of all Wisconsinites is protected from all types of secondhand smoke.”
“Updating the current law to include e-cigarettes, statewide, is imperative to maintaining good public health in Wisconsin,” said Nicole Hudzinski, Government Relations Director with the American Heart Association. “By including electronic smoking devices, we can uphold the integrity of the Clean Indoor Air law.”
Legislation, Senate Bill 442/Assembly Bill 491, was introduced last session with bi-partisan support to include e-cigarettes in the state’s Clean Indoor Air law, but never received a hearing in either house.
“We thank Senators Jacque and Risser and Representatives Mursau and Kolste for championing this issue, and we look forward to continuing the work next session,” said Sara Sahli, Government Relations Director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We encourage lawmakers to support this legislation, which is a simple update that keeps up with the quickly changing tobacco industry that is working to addict a new generation of lifelong tobacco users.”
When the clean indoor air law was passed, Wisconsin’s Tobacco Quit Line saw a spike in calls. This free cessation resource is still available to Wisconsin residents. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or if you are on Medicaid, talk to your doctor about the free help provided through the Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Benefit.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.