Vilas County Public Health - Community Health - Tobacco Prevention

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.

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 cool mint, wild berry and mango. Flavoring these products has been a successful strategy in getting youth to use new tobacco products. In Wisconsin, 96% of middle schoolers say they probably wouldn’t try an e-cigarette – the most popular tobacco product among youth today – if it wasn’t flavored.

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.