There’s no better time than the present to quit smoking. That’s the message local health advocates are spreading for today’s 37th annual Great American Smokeout. The national event encourages smokers nationwide to quit smoking for good and is organized by the American Cancer Society.
“It’s hard to think of anything that’s better for your health than quitting smoking,” said Niki Kostrova, Oneida County Tobacco Control Coordinator. “Quitting smoking alone reduces your cancer risk, improves breathing, and lowers blood pressure.”
Kostrova added that users of other tobacco products like chewing tobacco should also consider quitting today. “A common misconception is that chewing tobacco and other tobacco products are a safe alternative to smoking,” said Kostrova. “However, we know that the only truly safe alternative to smoking is avoiding tobacco products altogether. Chewing tobacco and other tobacco products come with their own set of very serious health consequences, including increased risk for oral cancer, mouth lesions, gum disease, and tooth decay.”
Tobacco takes nearly 8,000 lives every year in Wisconsin and costs the state as much as $4.5 billion in health care costs. On top of that, tobacco use is also the leading cause of chronic diseases in Wisconsin such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. These diseases take a terrible toll on Wisconsin as they make up about two-thirds of all deaths in the state.
“Quitting tobacco use is very challenging, but it can be done,” continued Kostrova. “Even better, free help is available through the state’s Quit Line. I would encourage smokers who want to take that crucial first step to call the Quit Line.”
Free quit smoking assistance is available by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at (800) QUIT NOW (784-8669). The Quit Line is funded by the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, part of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.