A recent study released in The Wisconsin Medical Journal confirms that exposure to secondhand smoke has significantly declined since the 2010 Wisconsin smoke-free air law took effect. This is good news for the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN), which has been working tireless to educate Wisconsin residents about the hazards of secondhand smoke to children and families.
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Healthy conducted the study which not only shows that the percentage of smoke-free homes has increased since 2010, but also shows the percentage of people exposed to secondhand smoke at home has decreased, from 13% to 7%.
The fact that Wisconsin residents are proactively addressing the issue of secondhand smoke is especially critical in the African American community where, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, African-American children are more likely to be hospitalized due to asthma complications than Caucasian children, and are four times as likely to die from asthma.
Smoke-free air is particularly important to children because studies confirm that secondhand smoke can aggravate asthma attacks, causing the attacks to be more frequent and severe, increase respiratory problems and contribute to more frequent ear infections.
With so many other health disparities facing the African American community, the WAATPN is pleased to acknowledge that the African American community is not only hearing the multitude of messages being communicated about the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke, but taking positive steps to protect the health of their children. Let us keep up the good work, while we work toward closing this and other health care disparity gaps in our community.