Costs Of Smoking, Checking In On Congress, State Of The State Review

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As Governor Scott Walker settles into his second term, many will look to his State of the State address for an idea of his plans for Wisconsin. We review the address and talk about what it means for the state’s future. We also check in on happenings in Congress this week, and look at the rising costs of tobacco use in the state.

Featured in this Show

  • Smoking Rates Down But Costs Stay High In Wisconsin, Report Says

    The latest “Burden of Tobacco” report from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee shows that the costs of tobacco use — both in health care costs and loss of productivity — have continued to rise even as smoking rates are on the decline.

    Smoking annually costs the state about $3 billion in health care expenses and $1.62 billion in lost productivity, according to the report. That’s about $528 a year for every person in Wisconsin. The total cost of $4.62 billion marks an increase of $100 million from the last report released in 2010.

    As the debate on the new state budget heats up, proponents of smoking cessation say that getting people to quit can make economic sense for Wisconsin.

    “We will use this report as we talk to lawmakers about what they can do,” said Sara Sahli, the Wisconsin government relations director at American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

    One thing that Sahli and health care officials are calling for is increased funding to the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program, which provides a variety of resources and products to people trying to quit smoking. Sahli said the state pays $5.3 million to that effort, a figure that’s 9 percent of what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

    The report also found that smoking rates are near all-time lows among both adults and young people. The adult smoking rate is now 18 percent, which is down 2 percentage points from 2012. Fewer high school youth are smoking too, with a decrease from 33 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2014.

    Experts attribute the drop to a combination of the state’s comprehensive tobacco prevention program and higher cigarette taxes.

    While traditional cigarette use is down, health officials are concerned with the growing popularity of other tobacco products, including candy-flavored “little cigars” and e-cigarettes. According to the report, Wisconsin teens use e-cigarettes at a 75 percent higher rate than the national average.

    Even with declining smoking rates, costs continue to increase because of the long-term, chronic conditions caused by smoking, especially among those who become addicted at a young age.

    The report estimates that more than 7,300 people die annually in Wisconsin from smoking-related diseases. Most of those deaths each year are associated with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and smoking-related cancers. Nearly 10 percent are deaths caused by exposure to secondhand smoke and smoking-related fires.

  • Health Costs Of Tobacco Climb In Wisconsin

    The latest “Burden of Tobacco” report from UW-Milwaukee shows that the costs of tobacco use – both in health costs and loss of productivity – have continued to rise. The estimated annual costs are now at 4.6 billion dollars, a cost that is equal to 528 dollars a year for every person in Wisconsin.

  • This Week In Congress – January 14, 2015

    USA Today Chief Congressional Correspondent Susan Davis fills in for Paul Singer to cover the latest from Washington.

  • Reaction To Governor Walker's State of the State Address

    Governor Walker’s State of the State address is the topic, as we get reaction to the speech and what it means for Wisconsin.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Susan Davis Guest
  • Mike Wagner Guest