Wisconsin Should Make It Easier to Quit Tobacco

During American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout®, Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Invest in Tobacco Prevention and Cessation and Preserve Smokefree Workplace Protections

November 14, 2023

MADISON, Wis. – Elected officials across the state must preserve our smokefree workplace protections and do more to support residents of Wisconsin who want to quit using tobacco products, say cancer patients, survivors, and advocates who are marking the American Cancer Society’s 48th annual Great American Smokeout® this Thursday. The Great American Smokeout is a day for people who use tobacco to create a plan to quit. 

In Wisconsin, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death, and smoking is now linked to at least 12 types of cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers. Each year, more than 7,900 Wisconsinites die from a smoking-related disease each year. Although these hazards are well established, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 15.4% of adults in Wisconsin smoke. These products are often highly addictive, and it can be difficult for people to quit using tobacco once they have started. 

“The Great American Smokeout is not just a chance for people who use tobacco to set a plan to quit, it’s also an opportunity for lawmakers to make additional investments in tobacco prevention and cessation services,” said Sara Sahli, Wisconsin government relations director American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. “Nearly 70% of adults who smoke want to quit, but quitting is incredibly difficult. We know that a well-funded tobacco cessation and prevention program is so important to provide the support needed to help people quit, and to help prevent kids and young adults from starting to use tobacco.”

Additionally, research shows that strong tobacco control policies, like comprehensive smokefree laws can help people quit smoking.

“Lawmakers can help support people who are trying to quit using tobacco by preserving comprehensive smokefree laws to keep all workplaces smokefree,” said Sahli. “Studies have shown that smokefree laws and policies reduce smoking among workers and patrons, and in Wisconsin, our smokefree law is overwhelmingly popular, with support from 77% of Wisconsinites. On this Great American Smokeout, we urge Wisconsin lawmakers to oppose Senate Bill 471 and its companion, Assembly Bill 451, which would create a significant loophole in Wisconsin’s Indoor Smokefree Air Law and undermine the strong smokefree workplace protections currently in place.”

Free resources on quitting tobacco can be found at or through the American Cancer Society’s cessation program, Empowered to Quit


About ACS CAN 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting