Tobacco quit line hits 200,000 callsWisconsin's tobacco quit line has hit a milestone: 200,000 calls have come in since 2001.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin's tobacco quit line has hit a milestone: 200,000 calls have come in since 2001.
For most of the 12-year-period the Tobacco Quit Line, http://www.ctri.wisc.edu/quitline2.html, has been operating, Wisconsin did NOT have an indoor statewide smoking ban. That 2010 law, along with cigarette tax increases, have prompted more people to try and quit, says Dr. Michael Fiore. He directs the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Fiore says the prohibitions on where people can smoke and the cost of doing so are keeping the Quit Line busy. “All that does is drive demand, and when we talk to smokers in Wisconsin, 80 percent of them tell us they want to quit. If they try to quit on their own only about 5 percent of them succeed. If they use something like the (scientifically-based) quit line, 25 percent more more will successfully quit.”
Last year, the Tobacco Quit Line provided 10,000 smokers with free counseling and medication. In previous years when funding was higher, the Quit Line helped 3 times as many smokers. “In one year—I believe it was 2006— the (state) funding was increased substantially and we were actually able to provide services to about 30,000 smokers who wanted to quit.”
Like many other states, Wisconsin spends only a portion of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends to stop and prevent smoking. Wisconsin collects about $600 million in revenue annually from the cigarette tax. Less than 1 percent of that money was spent on preventing smoking.