Cigarette sales falling in Wisconsin

A wellness specialist says quitting smoking leads to improved health outcomes.
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 4:00 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - In the last two decades, the number of cigarettes sold in Wisconsin has been dropping, according to a report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Data from the Department of Revenue shows around 193 million packs of cigarettes were sold in the state last year. In 2001, that number was 420 million. The report points to multiple factors that could be contributing to the decline, including tax increases on cigarettes, bans on smoking indoors, and more people using vaping devices.

A wellness specialist at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse said quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

″There are pretty significant health improvements when someone stops tobacco,” Amanda Westphal, Wellness Education Specialist at Gundersen Health, said. “Some improvements are noticed pretty closely to when they quit, and others take a little bit of time, but certainly it’s the best thing you can do to improve health and improve those health outcomes.”

Westphal said tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. and said if you want to stop smoking, there are free resources to help, like the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Wisconsin’s current tax on a pack of cigarettes is $2.52, above the national median of $1.78 and 16th highest in the U.S.