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Tobacco Prevention and Control Program

Tobacco is Wisconsin’s leading cause of preventable death and costs the state more than $4.6 billion annually in health care and lost productivity expenses. The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) is dedicated to reducing tobacco’s burden. Here you will find information on the TPCP’s comprehensive efforts as well as fact sheets and quitting resources for tobacco use.

Letter to School Districts Promotes E-Cigarette Quitting Resources for Youth

Governor Tony Evers, Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, and State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor are letting schools know what they can do to prevent youth e-cigarette use. In a joint letter on e-cigarettes to Wisconsin school district administrators, they outlined steps school districts can take to address the issue, like:

  • Providing resources on putting in place extensive tobacco-free school policies,
  • Adding the dangers of e-cigarette use into health curriculum, and
  • Connecting addicted youth with resources to help them stop using tobacco.

Learn about the resources available to help youth quit and prevent them from starting in the first place by reading the letter below.

Currently, not everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. In addition to targeted marketing from the tobacco industry, obstacles like poverty and discrimination increase rates of retail tobacco use. This leads to poor health outcomes for those with fewer resources and less power in society.

Free help to quit tobacco is available. Call 800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) or text "READY" to 200-400 for free help (message and data rates may apply), or if you’re enrolled in Medicaid, talk to your doctor about the free help provided through the Medicaid cessation benefit.

Learn more about the historic toll tobacco has taken on specific populations through these fact sheets (P-02681):



E-Cigarette Disposal Guidance

Safely disposing of e-cigarettes is important because they are considered hazardous home waste due to their high concentration of nicotine (which may present health risks, especially for kids and pets) and the fire hazard presented by their batteries. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued new guidance for the safe disposal of e-cigarettes, which can be found on their website.

Review DNR guidance on safe e-cigarette disposal (scroll down to the heading “Disposal Guide”)

Wisconsin is 12 Years Smoke-Free

Monday, July 5, marks the 12th anniversary of Wisconsin's smoke-free air law. That means over a decade of secondhand smoke

Smoke Free 10th Anniversary logo
protection for Wisconsin employees and customers. In 2008, before Wisconsin's smoke-free air law passed, 20% of Wisconsin adults and 21% of Wisconsin high school students smoked. By 2018, those numbers dropped to 16% and 5%, respectively. State cigarette taxes were also raised in that time period. Today, thanks to the work of many local communities to expand smoke-free air policies, it is estimated that over 2 million Wisconsin residents (about 36% of the state's population) are also protected from secondhand e-cigarette aerosol.
Tips From Former Smokers®

The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is marking the ninth anniversary of the life-saving Tips From Former Smokers campaign by launching new ads featuring individuals living with tobacco-related diseases like cancer, Buerger's disease, heart disease, and COPD.

Read and listen to the stories

FDA Graphic Warning Labels for Cigarette Packs

The FDA unveiled new graphic cigarette pack warning labels on March 17, 2020. The warnings are required to appear starting June 18, 2021, and must occupy the top 50% of cigarette packs and at least 20% of cigarette ads. The warnings highlight a number of health risks, and must be randomly and equally displayed on cigarette packages and rotated quarterly in cigarette ads.

View the full series of graphic cigarette warnings

New Federal Tobacco 21 Law

On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. Please see the Federal Food and Drug Administration website regarding the change to this law.

Partial E-Cigarette Flavor Restriction

On January 2, the Federal Food and Drug Administration announced a new policy focused on some flavors in pod or cartridge-based e-cigarettes. The policy prohibits fruit, candy, and mint flavors in those e-cigarette products, but allows menthol and tobacco flavors to continue. The policy also exempts e-juice flavors for open systems like mod and tank-based e-cigarettes. Examples of the different types of e-cigarettes can be found on the CDC website. The policy takes effect 30 days from when it is published in the federal registrar.

Tobacco is Changing

It's hard for parents to keep track of all the kid-friendly flavors tobacco now comes in. That's why the Department of Health Services (DHS) created the new Tobacco is Changing campaign. On the Tobacco is Changing page, parents can learn about the different types of tobacco products temping their kids, as well as key tobacco issues like flavoring and packaging, and get tips for helping their kids stay tobacco-free. Learn more at

E-Cigarettes: Unproven and Unregulated

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are oral devices that can be used to simulate smoking and that produce an aerosol of nicotine and/or other substances. Little is known about the safety or efficacy of e-cigarettes as they have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and are not currently regulated. For proven tools to help you quit tobacco use, visit our Help to Quit page.

Secondhand Smoke: Still a Problem

Secondhand smoke remains a health concern for many. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that two in every five children (and seven out of 10 African-American children) are exposed to secondhand smoke, as well as more than one in three nonsmokers who live in rental housing. To learn more about smoke-free multi-unit housing efforts in Wisconsin, visit Clear Gains - Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Housing Initiative.

Other Tobacco Products: Attracting New Users

Tobacco also comes in other forms like chew, snus, cigars and cigarillos. Even though these products can cause serious health problems like heart disease and cancer, their cheaper price and candy and fruit flavors like cherry and grape make them increasingly appealing to youth.

Smoke-Free Public Housing Rule

A rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requiring all Public Housing Authorities to be smoke-free took effect on July 31, 2018. Learn more at HUD's website.

Visit the General Information and Data page for more research findings.

2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS) Tobacco Findings

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned 2020 Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) was canceled. The YTS will resume in 2022.

This data is not directly comparable to data collected from the YTS. The YRBS only includes high school data. You can find the most recent Wisconsin middle school data in the 2018 YTS Middle School Tobacco Fact Sheet, P-01624a (PDF).

  • E-Cigarette Use
    • High School Current Use: 20.6%
    • High School Ever Use: 45.5%
  • Conventional Cigarette Use
    • High School Current Smokers: 5.6%
    • High School Ever Smokers: 19.1
  • Smokeless Tobacco Use
    • High School Current Smokeless Users: 3.3%
    • High School Ever Smokeless Users: Not Available
  • Cigars, cigarillos, little cigarettes Use
    • High School Current Cigar, Cigarillos, or Little Cigar Users: 4.7%

Source: 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, P-02862 (PDF)

Current Adult Tobacco Use
Current tobacco use is defined as having used a particular tobacco product at least once in the last 30 days.
  Current Smokers Current Smokeless Tobacco Users Current Vapers
Wisconsin 16% 4% 6%
Female 14% 1% 6%
Male 17% 7% 5%
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 34% 2% 11%
Hispanic/Latinx 12% 3% 6%
Non-Hispanic Multiracial 30% 1% 12%
Non-Hispanic Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 7% 1% 4%
Non-Hispanic Black 25% 3% 6%
Non-Hispanic White 16% 4% 5%
Race/ethnicity prevalences are aggregated from 2015-2019 BRFSS data, except for Current Vaper, which is 2016-2019.
Ever had asthma 16% 3% 5%
Diagnosed with depression 21% 3% 11%
LGB+* 22% 3% 13%
Medicaid or BadgerCare participant 26% 5% 9%
City of Milwaukee resident 26% 2% 7%
Receive mental health treatment 18% 2% 11%
Live in rural areas 18% 6% 5%
Live in cities 15% 4% 6%
Veteran 17% 6% 3%
Less than a high school education 31% 8% 7%
Annual income below $15,000 22% 2% 8%

*LGB+ preferences are aggregated using BRFSS data from 2016-2020; due to insufficient sample sizes, this sample does not include transgender adults.

Numbers are from 2020 BRFSS data only, unless otherwise stated.

Ever Adult Tobacco Use
Ever tobacco use is defined as ever having tried any type of tobacco once.
  Ever Smokers Ever Cigar Smoker* Ever Smokeless Tobacco Users Ever Vaper
Wisconsin 42% 35% 11% 25%
Female 37% 16% 3% 23%
Male 48% 56% 22% 28%
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 69% na 21% 35%
Hispanic/Latinx 29% na 7% 23%
Non-Hispanic Multiracial 47% na 12% 43%
Non-Hispanic Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 16% na 6% 19%

Non-Hispanic Black

40% na 4% 22%
Non-Hispanic White 44% na 13% 22%

Most of the Race/ethnicity prevalences are aggregated using 2016-2020 BRFSS data.

*Cigar use is only available for the year 2020; na=not available, sub-sample sizes are too small to be reliable.

Ever had asthma 51% 34% 12% 24%
Diagnosed with depression 55% 35% 10% 40%
LGB+* 44% na 9% 38%
Medicaid or BadgerCare participant 47% 35% 10% 36%
City of Milwaukee resident 39% 33% 4% 31%
Receive mental health treatment 56% 39% 10% 40%
Live in rural areas 52% 34% 12% 21%
Live in cities 52% 35% 11% 26%
Veteran 67% 53% 21% 22%
Less than a high school education 36% 37% 11% 31%
Annual income below $15,000 44% 35% 5% 41%

* LGB+ prevalences are aggregated using BRFSS data from 2016-2020; due to insufficient sample sizes, this sample does not include transgender adults.

Numbers are from 2020 BRFSS data only, unless otherwise stated.


Source: 2020 Adults and Commercial Tobacco Fact Sheet, P-02956 (Rev. 10/2021)

Additional resources
Tobacco costs in Wisconsin
  • Annual Lives Lost: 7,000
  • Annual Health Care Costs: $3 billion
  • Annual Lost Productivity Costs: $1.6 billion

Source: 2019 Wisconsin Tobacco Facts
Source: Tobacco Costs Wisconsin, P-02415

Last revised March 20, 2023