Health Risks

Tobacco causes immediate and long-term damage to your body:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis and COPD)
  • Premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth and infant death

Cigar use causes cancer of the:

  • Larynx
  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Lung

sec-hand-smoke-girlThere is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and a number of health problems in infants and children, including:

  • Severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory infections
  • Ear infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Smokeless tobacco causes a number of serious oral health problems, including:

  • Cancer of the mouth and gums
  • Periodontitis
  • Tooth loss

Tips from Former Smokers

Ready to Quit Tobacco?

  1. Quit Line Get Ready
      • Set a quit date
      • Think about why past quit attempts failed
  2. Get Support and Encouragement
    • Tell your family, friends and physician
    • Get group or individual counseling
  3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors
    • Change your routine
    • Reduce your stress
    • Distract yourself from urges
    • Drink a lot of water
  4. Get Medication and Use it Correctly
    • Talk with your physician about what would work best for you
  5. Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Be careful around other tobacco users

The Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) is free, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Visit Smoke Free for other resources.

Benefits of Quitting

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Pulse rate goes back to normal.  Poison gas and nicotine start to leave your body. The oxygen in your blood rises to a normal level.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood begins to drop to normal.
  • 24 hours after quitting: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation and lung function improve.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath lowers; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing your lungs ability to clean and lower infections.
  • 1 year after quitting: Your risk of heart disease is half that of a tobacco user.
  • 5-15 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
  • 10 years after quitting: Lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing tobacco user. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
  • 15 years after quitting: The risk of heart disease falls to that of a nonsmoker.

Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes)e-cig

Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices made to deliver nicotine or other substances to a user in the form of a vapor. The vapor looks similar to smoke. Typically, they are made up of:

  • Rechargeable, battery-operated heating element
  • Replaceable cartridge that may contain nicotine or other chemicals
  • Atomizer that, when heated, converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor. This vapor can then be inhaled by the user.

These products are often made to look like such products as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. They are also sometimes made to look like everyday items such as pens and USB memory sticks, for people who wish to use the product without others noticing.

Other Information:

  • The aerosol in e-cigarettes contains metals (i.e. tin, chromium and nickel) and other chemicals (i.e. formaldehyde and toluene).
  • Poison center calls related to e-cigarettes have surged in the past 4 years. For more information:
  • E-cigarettes haven’t been proven to be an effective cessation device.  The combination of cessation counseling and FDA-approved medications is most effective in helping smokers quit.

First Breath Program

The First Breath Program assists pregnant Wisconsin women to quit or reduce smoking with the goal of improving maternal and child health. Any pregnant woman who has recently quit smoking or wants to quit smoking can participate in this program. If you would like more information or to enroll in the First Breath Program, please contact the Lincoln County Health Department. Additional information about this program can be found on the First Breath website or the First Breath Moms Website

First Breath Brochure

Wisconsin Smoke Free Air Law

As of July 5, 2010, smoking is no longer allowed inside places of employment and public places in the State of Wisconsin. The law protects all workers and the public from second-hand smoke.  For more information on the law, visit

To report a violation, visit or contact local law enforcement agency.

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