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National report dings Wisconsin on smoking prevention efforts



The new smoking report from the American Lung Association is out. It’s not great for Wisconsin.

The badger state received an F in two of five categories — prevention funding and access to services — in the report.

Todd Mahr, allergist at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, said it’s an important self reflection tool.

“Overall, the state of Wisconsin hasn’t gained anything and we’re still kind of dismal at what we do,” Mahr said. “I think it’s great to look at this type of report and be able to judge yourself against other states.”

The American Lung Association hammered Wisconsin for low taxes on cigarettes and not enough efforts for prevention.

“We know we have lots of issues going on with people having problems with starting to smoke,” Mahr said. “And tobacco prevention and cessation funding is not the greatest.

“The legislature’s kind of stolen the money that was earmarked for it.”

The one category Wisconsin did fare well in was air quality. The report cited the state’s laws that ban smoking in several areas.

Mahr also believed the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes are complicating efforts to curb smoking

“The tobacco industry would say, ‘Well, we’re not marketing to kids.'” Mahr said. “Well, why do you have bubblegum and fruit flavored e-cigarettes? Tell me an adult who wants that flavor.”


Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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