Smokers! Circle this date – Thursday, Nov. 15 – in red letters on your calendar.
That’s the date of the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, organized by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to quit.
“Quitting smoking is hard to do, but it’s hard to think of anything that’s better for your health,” said Robert Cherry, coordinator of the Milwaukee Tobacco Free Alliance. “Quitting smoking alone reduces your cancer risk, improves breathing, and lowers blood pressure.”
Cherry also reminded those who use other tobacco products like chewing tobacco that they pose health risks as well. They, too, should take the plunge on the 15th and quit their tobacco use, he said.
“We know that the only truly safe alternative to smoking is avoiding tobacco products altogether,” he said. 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.
“Free help is available through the state’s Quit Line,” Cherry said. “I encourage smokers in Milwaukee to take that crucial first step and call today.”
The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line is 1-800-QUIT NOW. The Quit Line is funded by the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, part of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.