Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Thoughts on Great American Smokeout

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Greg Peck
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fewer and fewer Wisconsinites smoke these days. Two measures pushed more people to quit. First came the boost in the state tax on a pack of cigarettes from $1.77 to $2.52 in September 2009. The second was the ban on smoking inside bars, restaurants and other public places that took effect July 5, 2010.

Perhaps that’s why we mark the Great American Smokeout today with seemingly little fanfare or publicity.

Still, too many Wisconsinites continue to smoke.

Tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. It kills more than 7,000 Wisconsinites every year and 445,000 nationwide. Despite this, more than 46 million Americans, including 900,000 Wisconsinites, still smoke. Even more disconcerting, almost 7,000 Wisconsin kids become new smokers every year, and 15 percent of pregnant Wisconsinites smoke.

“Research shows people who try to quit smoking without assistance are successful only 5 percent of the time,” Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, said in a news release. “But those who get help—in the form of coaching and medications—can triple their chances of quitting smoking for good. The Great American Smokeout is the perfect time to quit, and the Quit Line is a proven way to get help.”

Wisconsinites can call 800-QUIT-NOW for free coaching and medicine 24/7 from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line to help them quit smoking or chewing tobacco. The Quit Line provides free coaching and will ship a two-week starter kit with booklets and medications at no charge. The smoker can choose between nicotine patches, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges.

The Quit Line has fielded nearly 200,000 calls since it began in May 2001.

If you still smoke or chew tobacco, why not pick up the phone today? It might be the healthiest move you’ve ever made.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 10:05 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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