'No singles, no loosies:' Campaign aims to end sale of single cigarettes in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network’s (WAATPN) Single Cigarette Subcommittee launched on Wednesday, July 24 "No Singles/No Loosies" -- a campaign aimed at increasing awareness about the problems associated with the illegal sale of single cigarettes (cigarettes out of the pack) in Milwaukee.

The subcommittee is chaired by the American Cancer Society and Hayat Pharmacy, and includes community members and retailers from across the city.

According to a news release, the sale of single cigarettes is a contributor to the state’s high smoking rate for African-Americans, which is nearly double that of the general population, and also increases the chances that young people can afford and illegally purchase cigarettes.

In 2018, the city increased the fine for retailers caught selling single cigarettes, known as “loosies,” to $691. The fine for selling single cigarettes had been $181 for a first offense, and $321 for second and subsequent offenses.

The campaign includes signs and window clings, which retailers helped develop. The signs make it clear the sale of single cigarettes is illegal, and that customers cannot purchase them. The group hopes that the signs will be displayed by every tobacco retailer in Milwaukee.