WAUSAU - The Partnership for a Tobacco Free Wisconsin wants e-cigarette use banned indoors by 2021. In conjunction with the Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition, the state-wide organization unveiled its plan to combat nicotine from 2020 to 2025.
"In the last five years we've seen a really concerning increase in vaping in middle schools and high schools across the state," said Darcie Warren with the Partnership for a Tobacco Free Wisconsin.
The five year plan unveiled Tuesday in Wausau focuses on prevention, limiting second-hand smoke and treatment. The plan also highlights disparities in certain communities.
"Unfortunately what we've seen is a gap that's widening between the haves and the have nots where certain populations are using tobacco much more than others," said Warren.
According to American Lung Association, groups like Native Americans, Black Americans and members of the LGBTQ community all smoke at higher rates
than the national average. Income also plays a role with those below the poverty level smoking at a rate almost twice that of those above the poverty level.
The announcement of the tobacco use prevention plan comes as over 1,600 cases
of vaping related lung injury have been reported to the CDC in 49 states.
In Marathon County, over 50%
of 12 graders said they've tried vaping according to the Department of Public Instruction.
While some vaping advocates believe the ability of e-cigarettes to help adults quit smoking outweigh potential side effects, prevention professionals think otherwise.
"Even though there's less harm it's not harmless," Jennifer Chiamulera with the Oneida County Health Department. "I think one of the biggest challenges that we're facing right now is that tobacco is changing … we can't keep up with it."
At Tuesday's presentation, health advocates were also shown new vaping technology to understand how nicotine use has shifted.