Seven C's Health Initiative

Our mision is to collaboratively work to improve the health of our citizens living the counties of Buffalo, Trempealeau, Jackson, Monroe, La Crosse, Vernon and Crawford so that they may live long, healthy lives, free from tobacco and nicotine regardless of their income, education, or ethnic background.

La Crosse Area Health Initiative (LAHI)

The La Crosse Area Health Initiative (LAHI) works to improve the health and quality of life by promoting tobacco free communities through education, collaboration and community action within the County of La Crosse. 

LAHI began in the early 1990’s and has adapted to changes in funding and grown to meet the needs of the La Crosse community.  In 2015 the La Crosse Area Health Initiative updated their strategic plan to include: 

  1. Grow grass roots support for smokefree environments.
    • Educate landlords/property managers and promote smokefree multi-unit housing.
    • Support smokefree UW-L campus work.
    • Promote smokefree outdoor spaces
    • Raise awareness of the problem of cigarette butt litter and work with community members to solve this environmental challenge.

  2. Decrease tobacco initiation by providing education, collaboration and youth involvement Conduct tobacco retailer compliance checks.
    • Educate retailers
    • Conduct environmental scans comparing upscale neighborhoods with at-risk neighborhoods evaluating differences in pricing, product placement, advertising, etc.  Share the information with policy makers.
    • Educate about new products (OTP) including e-cigarettes

  3. Build coalition capacity and engagement to support coalition activities.
    • Educate and engage community members, local policy makers and state leaders.
    • Host community events
    • Partner and collaborate on tobacco initiatives
    • Participate in community outreach events
    • Recognize members and community efforts


LAHI continues to be a strong and powerful voice for tobacco prevention and control in La Crosse County and look forward to leveraging existing momentum and sparking new, creative efforts to make it easier for La Crosse County residents to live a tobacco free lifestyle. 


Attend a Meeting

  • The La Crosse Area Health Initiative meets monthly on the second Wednesday of every month from 3:00 – 4:30 pm  


  • La Crosse Public Library
    Board of Trustees Room
    800 Main Street
    La Crosse, WI 54601

Meeting Dates

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016
  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016
  • Wednesday, November 9, 2016
  • There is no meeting in December, celebrate our successes by enjoying time with your families, friends and collegues.  See you next year!

Intern/Volunteer Opportunities
The La Crosse Area Health Initiative is regularily seeking volunteers who enjoy working with the public value youth led leadership.  Opportunities include:  mentoring our FACT youth movement, generating our newsletter, educating policy makers and more.

If you would like to get involved or offer your support, please contact us.  We are always looking for coaltion members to help us complete our mission and goals. 

For information contact:  Judi Zabel, 608-785-9855
Please provide your name and email, and let us know how you would like to be involved.

Second-hand smoke is extremely toxic.  It contains over 7000 chemicals including at least 69 known substances that cause cancer.

Text Box: Butts collected in 1 hour at Weigant Park Outdoor secondhand smoke is determined by the density of smokers, the wind velocity (direction and speed), and the stability of the atmosphere.  During continuous smoking, SHS levels outdoors could be as high as SHS indoors!

“Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer,” stated Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, “There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke.  The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale, causing damage immediately. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack.”

In addition to secondhand smoke exposure, many who smoke in parks on beaches, at county fairs, festivals, zoos, athletic fields and other outdoor recreational facilities leave their cigarette butts behind, which can pose a threat to children, wildlife and the environment.  

As people enjoy the health benefits of smoke-free air indoors, it is only natural to want to enjoy those same benefits in outdoor areas, especially those where people gather or work and have high levels of exposure.

Wisconsin’s Smoke Free Worksite Law protects participants in sports arenas including:

  • Lambeau Field
  • Miller Park
  • Swimming pools
  • Bus shelters

71% of voters are in favor of creating tobacco-free parks, beaches, and fairgrounds

    • 50% are strongly in favor

Communities everywhere are adopting policies creating tobacco free outdoor recreation facilities out of concern for the health of their citizens.  Many school districts prohibit tobacco use at their outdoor facilities.  Find out if your city has a smoke-free policy at your local parks, beaches and zoos:

Municipalities with Smokefree Zoo Laws


Health Equity
The La Crosse Area Health Initiative believes that the quality of health should not be determined by their zip code, behavioral health challenges, or sexual orientations and gender identity.  Historically social injustices have led to higher rates of poverty, unsafe neighborhoods and poor education outcomes for certain populations.  As a result, people of color and those experiencing poverty, substance abuse, social stigma and exclusion have lower life expectancies, poorer birth outcomes and higher risk for chronic diseases. 

We know that everyone deserves an equal chance to be healthy and thrive.   

Health equity is a priority in all the work we do.  We continually work to improve our understanding of how social injustices impact health. 

Link to Tobacco-Related Disparities Stat Shot

Link to Health Equity Toolkit

Tobacco’s Presence in La Crosse County
In the city of La Crosse some neighborhoods are disproportionally affected by tobacco advertising and tobacco retailer density.  

These pictures were taken from various retailors in La Crosse.

They all represent a high level of youth appeal based on the placement of the product.



  • The first picture shows donuts and pastries places in front of cheap, colorful and flavorful tobacco products.
  • The other two picture show this same type of products with candy in front of and even touching the tobacco products.
  • All of these products are counter top displays and are at eye level for youth to see.

Here are a few examples of signs that youth see as they are walking to and from school without even entering a store.


Not In My Neighborhood!  Recent studies reveal that the tobacco industry deliberately targets point-of-sale advertising towards low income and minority communities, taking advantage of the opportunity to display their deadly products in the increased number of storefronts found in these neighborhoods.  In the City of La Crosse, neighborhoods with a median income of less than $30,000 are home to 36% of the tobacco retailors while 81% of the retailors are located neighborhoods with median household income levels of $44,689. 

Americans are 40% more likely to smoke if they fall below the poverty line. 

WINS is a science-based, state-level initiative designed to decrease youth access to tobacco products. WI Wins was launched in the spring of 2002 as part of a comprehensive approach to preventing youth access to tobacco.

This map shows that retailers that have failed their wins tend to be located in lower income neighborhoods.

Targeting Low Income Women
In 1977, RJ Reynolds first attempted to reach low income female consumers of African American and Latino neighborhoods by pairing 25 cent off Salem Light coupons with food stamp distribution. These coupons targeted packs instead of cartons because RJR noted that lower income consumers tended to buy single packs to avoid purchasing the more highly priced cigarette carton. The economic downturn of the 1980s spurred the importance of discounting at the point of sale to the forefront once again. Leveraging in depth marketing analysis, tobacco companies counteracted female consumers’ guilt of purchasing cigarettes in the midst of economic hardship by offering coupons and discounts at the point of sale. Tobacco companies like Brownson and Williamson leveraged price discounting as a major marketing tactic of retaining low income female consumers.

To this day, price discounting is a cornerstone of the tobacco industry’s marketing strategy. The 2013 Federal Trade Commission report shows that 85.4% of the tobacco industry’s multi-billion dollar marketing budget for cigarettes is dedicated to price discounts. In addition, a 2012 study in Philadelphia found tobacco retailer outlets that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be more likely to display both exterior and interior tobacco advertisements as well as tobacco advertisements near products targeted to children, leading to greater exposure to tobacco advertising among SNAP and WIC recipients.

La Crosse Area Health Initiative Next Steps:

  • Conduct Environmental Scans—learn more about disparities in the amount of tobacco advertising in our community.
  • Investigate Policy Options:  Policies and programs can help eliminate tobacco-related disparities by changing how and where tobacco products are sold to make them less appealing and accessible, and by changing the social norms around tobacco use, making its use seem less acceptable.
  • Educate and engage the community
  • Ensure Equitable ImplementationIn order to reduce disparities in tobacco use, tobacco control interventions must also be implemented in an equitable way that ensures the benefits reach all population groups and that resources and services are distributed consistently and equally across populations.

View the full Presentation: Young Lungs at Play in Our Community.

For more information about the impact on disparities through In Point-of-Sale Advertising and Retailer Density visit

Behavioral health and Nicotine Addiction
What’s being done?
  • The La Crosse Area Health Initiative, with the goal of expanding to all 7 counties in the 7 C’s Health Initiative,  is developing and implementing strategies that effectively integrate tobacco cessation into substance abuse and mental health treatment by training providers with the skills and knowledge to treat nicotine dependence in their existing facilities and programs. 

This project is being funded by the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention and modeled after WiNTiP

For information contact:  Judi Zabel, 608-785-9855

Read more about Behavioral Health and Nicotine Addiction on the What We Do page.

Minutes and Agendas



Monthly Newsletter

Click here to view the coalition's newsletters. 

Contact Us

For more information please contact:

Judi Zabel
MJC Tobacco Program Coordinator

Alison Glodowski
Health Educator

Social Media

 7 C's Facebook Page

 LAHI Facebook Page

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La Crosse County Website