In April 2022, the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) celebrated 30 years of helping people quit tobacco use.
Founded by Drs. Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker, UW-CTRI is nationally recognized for its ground-breaking tobacco research and its commitment to translating those research findings into practice. UW-CTRI conducts tobacco research at its offices in both Madison and Milwaukee, as well as in healthcare clinics throughout Wisconsin and beyond. In addition to studying ways to improve our understanding of tobacco dependence and to disseminate effective treatments, UW-CTRI has also examined how to improve the effectiveness of community, state and national policy responses to tobacco addiction. The overall goal of UW-CTRI’s collective work is to reduce the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of smoking and to eliminate all tobacco product use.
UW-CTRI’s staff of more than 50 colleagues is funded via an annual portfolio of about $9 million, most of which is secured via competitive NIH grants. In addition, the UW-CTRI Fund, managed by the UW Foundation, houses approximately $6 million in reserve funds—including three UW-CTRI Professorships.
One distinguishing element of the Center is its Outreach Program, established in 2001. The UW-CTRI Outreach Program, part of a comprehensive, statewide Wisconsin Tobacco Control Program, includes the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. The Quit Line offers free coaching and medicine to anyone with a Wisconsin area code who wants to quit tobacco 24/7. The Outreach Program also features UW-CTRI Regional Outreach Specialists, who have provided free training and technical assistance to virtually every healthcare system and insurer—as well as thousands of clinics and dozens of hospitals—across Wisconsin. The Outreach Program is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Over the last 30 years, UW-CTRI has:
- Published more than 570 research articles.
- Assisted more than 55,000 individuals to quit via research studies. These individuals directly participated in NIH and other UW-CTRI clinical trials.
- Helped more than 250,000 smokers in their quests to quit via the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.
- Generated more than $170 million in grant funding, including five consecutive NIH Center Grants.
- Trained approximately 50,000 healthcare practitioners to help their patients quit smoking.
- Become a go-to source for journalists worldwide addressing tobacco addiction. As a result, UW-CTRI has reached an estimated 3.4 billion news consumers worldwide.
- Created the No. 1 Web site for “tobacco research” and “quit line” listed on Google.
- Changed the way healthcare systems approach and prioritize tobacco treatment.
UW-CTRI helps people quit tobacco use
Some of the Center’s top achievements include:
- Conceptualizing and advocating for the designation of tobacco use as one of the essential “vital signs,” collected on all patients who present for healthcare.
- Contributing to numerous publications of the US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking Cessation(eg, 2000, 2010, 2020).
- Chairing all three editions of the US Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline: Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence (in 1996 as AHCPR, 2000, and 2008).
- Leading the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ first ever Subcommittee on Cessation that produced a National Action Plan to reduce tobacco dependence. One outcome of that plan was to establish the nationwide tobacco cessation quitline network, making telephone quitline treatment available to every tobacco user in any state via 800-QUIT-NOW.
- Working on health-systems change, such as the incorporation of tobacco treatment into healthcare settings.
- Adapting electronic health records to prompt tobacco cessation interventions during healthcare visits, by building a partnership with EPIC Systems Corp.
- Creating and managing the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line since its launch in 2001. The Quit Line is funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
- Assisting with passing workplace smoking bans, first in Madison then statewide in Wisconsin.
- Helping behavioral health patients quit tobacco use. UW-CTRI assisted with implementing Wisconsin DHS Section 75 to ensure recovery centers in Wisconsin go smoke-free, and that they screen and treat patients for their tobacco use disorders.
- Working with disadvantaged populations to counter health disparities, foster equity and help people quit tobacco use.
- Conducting research on e-cigarettes and helping people who vape to quit.
- Helping write NCI MONOGRAPH #23, Treating Smoking in Cancer Patients: An Essential Component of Cancer Care.
- Co-leading the National Cancer Institute’s Moonshot-funded Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I), a $30 million program designed to integrate tobacco dependence treatment into cancer care.
UW-CTRI is committed to diversity, equity, inclusivity, and racial justice
Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW–Madison, including UW-CTRI. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. UW-CTRI is committed to addressing the profound inequities in tobacco use and its resultant harms.
For information on how UW-CTRI addresses tobacco disparities, click here.
For more history on UW-CTRI, visit: