State needs to spend tobacco settlement on community programs, experts say
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin should spend its $23.5 million tobacco settlement to build strong local bases against smoking, experts say.
Jill Thompson of the Oregon Division of Health told the Tobacco
Control Board here Thursday that her state has worked locally to reduce tobacco advertising, limit children' s access to cigarettes
and help smokers
Wisconsin needs similar programs, she said.
The board is researching ways to structure Wisconsin' s anti-tobacco effort and hopes to mold an anti-smoking campaign this fall.
Oregon is a considered a model in fighting tobacco use. The state has a five-member staff to advise local programs and gives its counties grants of up to $461, 000 drawn from cigarette taxes.
Wisconsin is bound to face the same challenges as Oregon, she said. Both states must craft custom programs in rural and urban areas and train state advisors to help guide them, she said.
" Local program coordinators find they need to be a doctor, lawyer and political strategist, " Thompson said.
Significant local efforts to fight smoking in Wisconsin have included smoke-free restaurant initiatives in Fond du Lac, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Kenosha, said Fond du Lac County health coordinator and board co-chair Marian Sheridan.
A strong local base in Wisconsin is key in the state' s fight against tobacco, she said.