On Labor Day, smokers called the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line to quit smoking not just for their own health, but for the health of those around them. Quitting isn’t easy, they said. But it’s a labor of love.
Take Wisconsin resident Steve S., who asked that his last name be withheld. He quit smoking in part because he was wheezing, but also for his family.
“I owe it to my wife to be around. Other people need me. I need to be around for awhile.” Steve’s mother suffered strokes and lived in a nursing home before she passed away, and Steve said he didn’t want his smoking to cause a stroke.
Steve called the Quit Line and received free nicotine patches in the mail. “I discussed my plan with a quit coach. They actually helped me think about things in another way. The patches were helpful. Checking in with coaches was helpful. Knowing help was there was helpful.” Steve said he was determined to quit after his smoking buddy died. He got rid of all his smoking-related possessions and quit in May after smoking on and off for 40 years.
Steve encourages smokers to give the Quit Line a call at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and to do so both for themselves and someone they love.
CDC statistics show about 70 percent of smokers want to quit, but quitting is hard. There are seven FDA-approved medications available to help smokers quit, and three of them are offered free through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. These include the nicotine patch, nicotine lozenge, and nicotine gum. Wisconsin residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW can get a free two-week supply of one of these medications via the mail. Studies have shown that combining the nicotine patch with either the lozenge or gum can further increase chances to quit.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, killing more than 7,000 Wisconsinites every year and 445,000 nationwide. Tobacco products can also debilitate those who use them. Despite this, more than 46 million Americans still smoke, including 800,000 Wisconsinites. Nearly 7,000 Wisconsin kids become new smokers every year, and 15 percent of pregnant Wisconsinites smoke.
The Quit Line’s confidential services are managed by UW-CTRI and funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
For more information, visit www.WiQuitLine.org