Risser's anti-cigarette fight dates back 50 years

CREATED Mar 16, 2014

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State Sen. Fred Risser has been fighting against cigarettes for more than 50 years, but says he's concerned the state is now taking a step backward.

A Capital Times report says the Madison Democrat introduced a bill in 1963 that would have barred children under 16 from buying cigarettes. Since then he's helped get smoking banned in the state Capitol and in indoor public places.

Risser, the longest serving member of any state legislature in the country, is now taking aim at electronic cigarettes.

A Senate committee recently approved a bill that would exempt e-cigarettes from the indoor smoking ban. Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman says e-cigarettes can help smokers quit conventional cigarettes.

But Risser sees the push as an effort by tobacco companies to reverse smoking declines.