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“Great American Smokeout” Aims to “Kick Butts” in Wisconsin

November 14, 2007

Eau Claire, WI – It's an especially good day for Wisconsin smokers -- to stop. Tomorrow is the "Great American Smokeout," a nationwide push to help people kick the smoking habit. Merrill Lovick of Eau Claire quit after 40 years of what he calls "heavy smoking," and he now volunteers to help others beat their tobacco addictions. He says on this journey, the first step is to pick a day.

"Give it a try, you have to start somewhere. I quit hundreds of times before I finally made it, but you know, that one time is going stick, so you gotta keep trying. If you don't try, you'll never do it."

Lovick has seen a major improvement in his health since he quit ten years ago, as well as other benefits that he hadn't expected.

"To be able to really taste food, and to smell all of the wonderful aromas like baking bread. I didn't realize there was a world out there I was missing when I smoked. My house, my car, and my clothes all smell so much better -- just that alone was worth quitting for."

This year, Wisconsin's new tobacco tax increase gives smokers yet another reason to pick that date, to save even more money by giving up cigarettes. However, Lovick encourages smokers to seek help in keeping their initial commitment.

"There's a lot of support. That's what the Great American Smokeout is all about. You can do it, just keep trying, because we're all pulling for you."

One source for that support is the Wisconsin Tobacco Quitline, at 800-QUIT-NOW or visit the American Cancer Society's Web site at

Rob Ferrett/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - WI