Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in Wisconsin

Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic
Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic

WISCONSIN

The Problem

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, despite a significant decline in the number of people who smoke. Over 16 million Americans have at least one disease caused by smoking. This amounts to $170 billion in direct medical costs that could be saved every year if we could prevent youth from starting to smoke and help every person who smokes to quit.

silhouette of people and tobacco products

Wisconsin Key Facts
Key Facts

In 2017, 17.3% of Wisconsin high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Among Wisconsin high school youth, 7.8% reported currently smoking cigarettes.

16.4% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2018; 7,900 adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year; $2.7B was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009
16.4% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2018; 7,900 adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year; $2.7B was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009

$1.3M

Was received from CDC for tobacco prevention and control activities in FY 2019

Public Health Response to Tobacco Use in Wisconsin

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Wisconsin has a comprehensive smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars, which has been in effect since 2010. Since that law was adopted, Wisconsin has continued to inform efforts to protect residents from exposure to secondhand smoke. The state also provides support to college campuses looking to go tobacco free. To date, there are 25 tobacco-free schools in Wisconsin (including technical schools, and 2 and 4 year colleges). Wisconsin also focuses on smoke-free multi-unit housing and is working with 39 partners from across the state and has helped 57 Wisconsin housing authorities implement smoke-free policies. Finally, the Wisconsin Native American Tobacco Network continues to provide education to casinos on the benefits of smoke-free environments. In addition to this work, Wisconsin is committed to addressing tobacco-related disparities. One example of this commitment is the Wisconsin Nicotine Integration Project (WiNTiP), which works with behavioral health providers to integrate tobacco cessation into the care that they provide.


CDC’s Role in Advancing State Tobacco Control Programs

Wisconsin is one of 50 states plus DC that receives funding and technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support comprehensive tobacco control efforts and quitlines. The Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) is the lead federal agency for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control. For decades, OSH has led public health efforts to prevent young people from using tobacco and to help all tobacco users to quit.


CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) Campaign Helps Wisconsin Smokers Quit Smoking

Despite significant progress, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the US. The good news is that 7 out of 10 smokers want to quit smoking. That is why since 2012 CDC has been educating the public about the consequences of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke and encouraging smokers to quit through a federally funded, national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers®. The campaign features former smokers suffering from the real consequences of smoking.

The Tips® campaign connects smokers with resources to help them quit, including a quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) which routes callers to their state quitline. The Wisconsin quitline provides free cessation services, including counseling and medication. These services are effective in improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

“I was thinking about relapsing today and the new commercials came on. It changed my mind real fast. You don’t understand the power of these commercials until you have made the decision to quit. Terrie Hall makes me cry every time . . . that could easily be me.”

–Justin: January 2016

Incoming calls to the Wisconsin state quitline increased by an average 39% during the 20198 Tips® campaign. The Wisconsin state quitline received a total of 7,662 calls from April 23rd – October 8th during the 2019 Tips® campaign.

Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention & Control Programs Reduce Healthcare Costs

Tobacco prevention and control activities are a public health “best buy.” Evidence-based, statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained, and accountable have been shown to reduce the number of people who smoke, as well as tobacco-related diseases and deaths. For every dollar spent on tobacco prevention, states can reduce tobacco-related health care expenditures and hospitalizations by up to $55. The longer and more states invest, the larger the reductions in youth and adult smoking. A comprehensive statewide tobacco control program includes efforts to:

1-prevent initiation of tobacco use especially among youth and young adults 2-promote cessation and assist tobacco users to quit 3-protect people from secondhand smoke
1-prevent initiation of tobacco use especially among youth and young adults 2-promote cessation and assist tobacco users to quit 3-protect people from secondhand smoke