Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 2:13pm

A Great Opportunity to Quit

Here in Dane and Columbia County, people are celebrating the Great American Smokeout (GASO) in the best way possible  by quitting smoking. In Wisconsin, there are many resources available to tobacco users looking to quit, including the free Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.  Thursday, November 21st marks the 38th annual GASO, a nationwide event organized by the American Cancer Society.

"The benefits associated with quitting smoking are clearly substantial" said Ryan Sheahan of the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition.  "Quitting smoking not only reduces one's risk of lung, throat, and cervical cancer, but can also lower one's blood pressure and risk of coronary heart disease."

In addition to long-term benefits, Sheahan shared that there are more immediate benefits to quitting.  For instance, one's breath smells better, food tastes better, and that yellow tinge on fingers and fingernails disappears.

The use of tobacco products carries heavy health risks in addition to the ones listed above. Smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of blindness in older people, as well as promotes cataracts, gum disease, tooth loss, and miscarriages in women.

"According to the The Burden of Tobacco Report there are approximately 60,000 smokers in Dane County, and 7,500 in Columbia County which, ultimately, translates into a dramatic economic impact. Cigarette smoking causes Dane County over $237,000,000 in health care costs per year, as well as over $146,000,000 in lost productivity each year.  Cigarette smoking causes Columbia County over $27,000,000 in health care costs per year, as well as over $16,900,000 in lost productivity each year", Sheahan stated

There is free help available for tobacco users that are ready to quit.  Columbia and Dane County health advocates urge everyone that smokes or uses tobacco to call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 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.   Since its inception in 2001, the Quit Line has received more than 200,000 calls.

For more information about quitting smoking and tobacco use, visit
For more information about the WI Quitline visit


Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition


  • Ryan Sheahan, (608) 242-6297