An estimated 7,000 Wisconsinites die every year from smoking-related illnesses and multiple initiatives are popping up to encourage smokers to kick the habit.
The Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention is working with the CDC on a campaign called “Talk with Your Doctor.”
"Since the ads have been on the air and in magazines and newspapers here in Wisconsin our calls to the tobacco quit line have doubled," says Rob Adsit, director of Outreach Programs.
Terrie Hall, the woman featured in one of the anti-smoking ads, was honored Wednesday in Washington by the gurgeon general and the CDC.
Hall says working on the campaign changed her life.... and she is often recognized as... that TV lady.
Adsit says working with a doctor, combining medication with counseling, can give people the best chance of successfully quitting.
“Just a simple message from a health care provider to a smoker can double the chance that the person will make a (quitting) attempt and be successful at their quit attempt,” says Adsit.
From the increased health care costs and lost productivity, the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention estimates smokers cost the state about $4.5 billion a year.
About 800,000 Wisconsinites continue to smoke despite the documented consequence, according to officials. Now Gov. Scott Walker wants state workers who smoke to pay an additional $50 a month for health insurance.
State residents can get free help by calling the tobacco quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.