Wisconsin Programs for Tobacco Cessation

Every year, 7,000 Wisconsin residents die from disease directly caused by tobacco use—that’s more than the death toll from AIDS, illegal drugs, alcohol, suicide and homicide combined. Smoking and chewing costs the Wisconsin economy $3.8 billion per year, including $2.1 billion in direct health care costs and $1.6 billion in lost worker productivity.

UW-CTRI is grateful to the Wisconsin Commercial Tobacco Prevention and Treatment Program for all its support that makes its Outreach programs possible. Wisconsin saves $1986 in BadgerCare+ expenses per year per member who quits smoking compared to current members who smoke. This means it’s a rare investment that saves lives AND tax dollars.

UW-CTRI Outreach Team
UW-CTRI Outreach Team

Regional Outreach Program: Helping Health-care Providers to Help Patients Quit

UW-CTRI Education and Outreach Specialists assist health-care providers with helping their patients break their addictions to tobacco. Located throughout the state, these specialists share the latest tobacco research with healthcare providers and work with them to incorporate tobacco-cessation treatment into standard care at hospitals, clinics, healthcare systems, dental practices, and facilities that treat behavioral health disorders. UW-CTRI outreach specialists encourage clinicians to ask about tobacco use at every visit, advise patients to quit, prescribe medications to assist with quitting and refer to programs that provide counseling, such as the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. These best practices are based on the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline: Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, the international standard for helping people quit, developed under the direction of UW-CTRI researchers. To date, UW-CTRI has:

  • Trained 50,000+ healthcare providers at more than 700 clinics and organizations throughout Wisconsin.
  • Partnered with local tobacco control partners to reduce prevalence every year since 2001.
  • Worked with insurers to cover medications to help people quit.
  • Worked with providers in the dental, substance abuse, and mental health fields.
  • According to the CDC, Wisconsin leads the nation in percentage of clinicians who intervene with patients who smoke.
  • To contact a UW-CTRI outreach specialist in your area, click here.

The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line: Free Assistance at 800-QUIT-NOW

Quit Line logoThe Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, managed by UW-CTRI and funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, provides free, confidential telephone coaching and medication to help Wisconsin residents quit tobacco use. People who smoke, vape, or chew nicotine can get help 24/7.

Quit coaches work with tobacco users to create individualized, effective quit plans. In addition to providing direct services, the Quit Line refers callers to local cessation programs when appropriate. Since 2001, the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line has:

Provided help to more than 200,000 callers.

  • A quit rate that’s more than four times better than the rate for smokers quitting “cold turkey.”
  • Saved millions in Medicaid and other healthcare expenses.
  • Referred more than 40,000 Wisconsin residents to local, community quit-tobacco services.
  • Provided free medication to help smokers quit.
Journey Mental Health accepts an award for helping their patients live tobacco-free.
Journey Mental Health accepts an award for helping their patients live tobacco-free.

Special Programs: Working to Reduce Tobacco-Related Disparities

UW-CTRI is dedicated to reducing tobacco-related disparities. We continue to work with ethnic groups throughout Wisconsin to improve tobacco-dependence treatment. UW-CTRI works closely with First Breath, a program of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation, to help pregnant women quit smoking. UW-CTRI has a history of innovative initiatives to help people living in poverty to quit smoking.

UW-CTRI continues to work with clinicians to incorporate evidence-based treatments to help behavioral health patients quit tobacco use. One example of this work is the Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration Project: www.HelpUsQuit.org.