Great American Smokeout encourages Wisconsinites to quit tobacco use

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 12:48 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 17 this year, and it’s the medical community’s way of encouraging people to stop tobacco use.

Whether it be by smoke or vape, the day is for the encouragement of seeking help to quit tobacco use all together.

The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line said that tobacco use is the leading cause of death in the Badger State, with being responsible for more than 7,000 deaths a year.

Dr. J. Taylor Hayes with Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependency Center says 30% of cancer deaths were from tobacco related use, and tobacco is a common cause for cardiovascular disease.

He adds that the chemical of nicotine is what drives the tobacco addiction, making it harder to quit.

Even though some people have been smoking for the majority of their lives, Dr. Hayes said it’s never too late to quit.

“The point is that no matter when you quit, there’s a benefit. The benefit is greatest when you quit earlier. If you smoke regularly, but you quit around age 45 or sooner, you will eliminate virtually all the excess risk that people smoke all their life has,” said Dr. Hayes.

Also, Dr. Hayes said that shame is not the way to go when trying to get someone to quit tobacco use.

“The one thing that they reject is preaching and lecturing. If you have the attitude of ‘you should know better, it’s going to kill you’ those messages are going to have no effect,” said Dr. Hayes.

He recommends a more empathetic approach, he suggests asking the user questions about their continued tobacco use.

Wis. residents have an opportunity get free help and medication in effort to quit smoking or vaping tobacco from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, according to a media release from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.

“We recognize that quitting smoking can be hard,” Kate Kobinsky, Quit Line Coordinator, said. “But we care. We listen. We have the latest research findings. We offer tools we know work. It’s free, so what do you have to lose?”

Kobinsky says the Quit Line is available 24/7. Here is how to access the Quit Line:

  • Calling: Call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
  • Texting: Text “READY” to 200-400.
  • Online: Visit
  • American Indian Program: The Quit Line offers the American Indian Program, featuring free, culturally-tailored help and medications to quit commercial tobacco to those who call 888-7AI-QUIT (888-724-8669).
  • Teens: Teens who vape can receive free help through the Live Vape Free program by texting “VAPEFREE” to 873373. Grownups who want to support a teen can take part in a free online course from Live Vape Free by visiting

According to the media release from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, the Quit Line is available to any Wis. resident age 13 and older with a phone. Adults may also be eligible to receive a two-week starter kit of medications such as the nicotine patch, lozenge or gum.

Additional information is available on the Wisconsin Tabacco Quit Line website.