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Tobacco Prevention


Smoking is the single greatest avoidable cause of disease and death. 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

There is no level of secondhand smoke that is safe. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and a number of health problems in infants and children, including:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Lung 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

Cigar use causes cancer of the:

  • Larynx
  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Lung

Because it is such a major health issue, the Vilas County Health Department is an active participant in the Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition. The coalition is made up of six counties: Florence, Forest, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas and they work together to:

  • Reduce the use of tobacco through public information and community involvement.
  • Provide information to help people quit.

For more information on how you can become involved, please call the Coalition Coordinator at 715-369-6115 or find them on Facebook!

Why Quit?

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.

How to Quit:

If you are one of the 70% of smokers who want to quit? Here are some tips:

  1. Write down why you want to quit. Do you want to feel better? Do you want to be around for your family?
  2. Know that it will be hard to quit. You my need to use nicotine replacement products (gum and patches) or FDA-approved, non-nicotine cessation medications. Some people do not have any withdrawal symptoms. For most people, symptoms only last a few days to a couple of weeks.
  3. Take quitting one day at a time, even one minute at a time—whatever you need to succeed.
  4. Get help if you need to. You can get free resources and help by calling the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (1-800-784-8669) or by visiting CDC's Tips From Former Smokers( Your health care provider can also help.

Source: CDC

Other Resources:

Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes)

Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that emit an aerosol that may contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals.


E-cigarettes aren’t regulated by any federal agency which means that makers do not follow consistent standards. In the past 4 years, poison center calls related to e-cigarettes have surged. More than half of these calls involved children ages 5 and younger. E-cigarettes have not been proven to be an effective way to quit tobacco use as well. To learn more, read the E-cigarette Fact Sheet.

E-Cigarette Public Health Advisory


This health advisory is being issued by the State and Local Health Officers to inform the public about the alarming statistics on current e-cigarette use among youth in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, current e-cigarette use among Wisconsin high school students increased 154% between 2014 and 2018. In 2014, just under 8% of Wisconsin high school students were using e-cigarettes. In 2018, that number has skyrocketed to 20% (or one out of every five students). In Lincoln County 23% of students reporting using e-cigarettes in 2017.

According to the Surgeon General Jerome Adams, nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain, which continues to develop until around age 25, and can impact learning, memory, and attention.

The e-cigarette aerosol that users inhale and exhale can expose both the user and those around the user to harmful substances, including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.

E-cigarettes now take many forms. Some e-cigarettes resemble flash drives, while others are about the size of a credit card. E-juice bottles resemble eye droppers and vape pens come in a variety of colors and resemble pens or lip gloss. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver other drugs, like marijuana. In 2016, a third of U.S. middle and high school students who had ever used e-cigarettes reported using them for marijuana.

The epidemic use of e-cigarettes is a complicated problem, which requires a cooperative effort between partners, organizations, and communities. Many are already working on efforts to combat this crisis, and we now ask for redoubled efforts and increased coordination. We are all in this together. Below are recommended actions that different groups can take to address this issue.


  • Visit to learn about the new tobacco products that are tempting teens into a lifelong addiction. The site also provides tips for talking to your kids about these products and allows you to contact the tobacco-free coalition in your area.
  • Go tobacco-free and set a good example for your kids. You and your kids can get free help to quit by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669). If you’re enrolled in Medicaid, talk to your doctor about how the Medicaid Cessation Benefit can help you quit.
  • Make your home and vehicles tobacco-free, including e-cigarettes.


  • Develop, implement and enforce comprehensive tobacco-free school policies.
  • Update substance use prevention curriculum to include e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Health Professionals

  • Visit www.tobaccoischanging to learn more about e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, and the health harms they pose.
  • Ask about e-cigarettes, including devices like JUUL, when screening patients for tobacco use.
  • Tell patients about the risks of all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, for young people.
  • Encourage your patients to seek help to quit. Refer them to the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669), or if they’re on Medicaid, let them know about the free support provided through the Medicaid Cessation Benefit.

Community and State Leaders

  • Update definitions in local smoke-free workplace ordinances to include e-cigarettes and other nicotine smoking devices.
  • Implement strategies to curb e-cigarette advertising and marketing that appeal to youth.
  • Implement strategies to reduce youth access to flavored tobacco products.

Below is data for Wisconsin youth:

Additional Information

JUUL e-cigarettes


JUUL e-cigarettes are a way to vape for youth and young adults in middle schools, high schools, and college campuses nationwide. This practice of inhaling through a vape pen can also be referred to as “JUULing,” named after a brand called JUUL, which make devices that are easily concealed.

The JUUL products can be used discretely in classrooms without the teacher even knowing. They are so small, they can be hidden in pens and highlighters and are often mistaken for USB flash drives. They can actually be charged on a laptop or computer.

These products comes in “kid friendly” flavors like Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Mint. There are also over 15,500 unique e-cigarette flavors available online. In Wisconsin, 89% of high school students say they would not try tobacco products that were not flavored. Even more concerning, the chemicals used to make certain flavors—diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione—have been shown to cause irreparable lung disease.

The state recently launched a new campaign called the “Tobacco is Changing” to raise awareness of how candy flavors and deceptive packaging are successfully luring kids into a lifetime of addition. You can learn more about the “Tobacco is Changing” Campaign.

Tobacco Sales Training Website Unveils New URL

For the past decade, has been the online destination for Wisconsin tobacco retailers looking for training to help them avoid illegal tobacco sales and hefty fines. Now, the site has a new name,, along with new features.

The training at is still free, but new features for tobacco retailers are now included, like the ability to create a store account, monitor employee training progress, and download employee training certificates. The reason the new URL was chosen is to include other tobacco types beyond cigarettes that are increasingly popular with young people. In Wisconsin, 13% of Wisconsin high school students report smoking e-cigarettes, compared to 8.1% who report smoking cigarettes.