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WI Smokeout Hoping to Kick Butts Bigtime

November 19, 2009

MADISON, Wisc. - The American Cancer Society' annual Great American Smokeout today may be a bigger success than usual because things are changing quickly in Wisconsin for those who still light up. As it has for 34 years, the Cancer Society is challenging smokers today either to cut back, quit for the day, or quit altogether. Health is always a major factor when people decide to kick the habit, but this year in Wisconsin, there are other factors pushing the decision.

Laurie Pagel, the Cancer Society's public relations manager in Wisconsin, says, with a new 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax, many people will cash it in today.

"Smokers in our state now face an average cost of about six dollars for one pack of cigarettes. In addition to that, our state's smoke-free law will take effect in July."

The Cancer Society's Web site offers tips as well as downloadable desktop helpers to assist with quitting and staying tobacco-free. Smoker's can use a calculator to total the money they would save by quitting, says Pagel.

"They can plug in their information on how much they smoke, how many packs a day or a week, and calculate it out."

Despite advances in medical treatments, she adds, a lot of people are still dying from smoking-related cancer in Wisconsin.

"Thirty-nine-hundred new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed and an estimated 29-hundred deaths due to the disease."

Those numbers are the estimated Wisconsin deaths in 2009. Help with quitting can be found at www.cancer.org.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI