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Tobacco is Changing: Take Action

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You can help make Wisconsin a healthier place for kids

Kids pay more attention to what you say and do than you might think. Research shows that parents, and caring adults, can have a powerful impact on young people’s choices, so talk with the kids in your life about the dangers of tobacco use. Listen to what they have to say. Be a good role model. Then share what you’ve learned with your entire community. Parents like you can make a real difference.

What you can do

Everywhere you look, Wisconsin’s youth are surrounded by kid-tempting nicotine products and marketing tactics. In all its forms, nicotine can addict young people and keep them hooked for life. It can damage their growing brains, leading to memory and attention problems. It can also cause serious illnesses like cancer or heart disease, and amplify stress, anxiety and depression.

That’s why it’s important to take actions that help protect teens’ physical and mental health—in all the spaces you and the kids in your life live, work, and play. Share what you know about the dangers of nicotine, and help young people connect with resources that offer information and support. It can make all the difference.

Family at kitchen table

At home

  • Get to know the tobacco industry’s products and tactics.
  • Learn about the serious health effects of youth tobacco use.
  • Visit SmallTalksWI.org to get tips and resources for talking to your kids about nicotine and its dangers, as well as other substances.
  • Talk to your kids about tobacco and its dangers.
  • Keep an eye out for tobacco products in your home.
  • Set a good example by living tobacco-free.
  • Ask your teen about their feelings and listen carefully. Encouraging young people to talk about stressful situations can help them gain perspective and find solutions.
Kids walking into school wearing backpacks

At school

  • Ask about the tobacco policies at your child’s school.
  • Make sure your child’s teachers know your home is tobacco-free.
  • Encourage kids to get involved with activities that discourage tobacco use, like sports and the arts.
  • Let your school administrators know that tobacco prevention matters to you.
  • Get involved with your school’s parent-teacher organization.
People at a conference listening to a speaker

In your community

  • Share what you know about the dangers of tobacco with others.
  • Get to know the tobacco policies that affect your community.
  • Let your local leaders know that tobacco prevention matters to you.
  • Support state and local tobacco prevention and control best practice policies.
  • Join the tobacco prevention coalition near you.
Two people talking

Help teens strengthen their mental health

We all can learn how to cope and recover when things get tough… even teens. But building resilience is just one way to protect their mental health. There are many free and affordable resources for young people and families, too.

Find support

Help your child quit

Nicotine is powerfully addictive in any form. Help your child find the resources and support they need to quit tobacco products for good.

Get them help

Tap into a network of free and affordable support resources, including quitting coaches, peer support, and helplines that offer help by phone call, live chat, or texting.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free quitting support and more.

Help your teen quit e-cigarettes with the Live Vape Free course.

Encourage your teen to text VAPEFREE to 873373 for free help.

Other ways to offer your support

Your support could make all the difference to a young person who is trying to quit. There are a lot of little things you can do to help:

  • Let your child know you’re proud of their efforts to live tobacco-free.
  • Help your child find personal quitting support, like a quit coach, support group, or a mobile app.
  • Provide healthy distractions that can help them cope if they get cravings.
  • Talk to your family doctor about quitting resources.
  • Try not to judge. Be positive and supportive, even when they stumble.

Talk, then take action

Helping to prevent youth tobacco use may seem like an overwhelming challenge, but there are plenty of small things you can do that may make a big difference, like talking to your kids about tobacco.

Download the Talk and Take Action fact sheet for helpful advice, including:

  • Five tips for talking to kids about tobacco
  • Resources and advice for helping your child quit
  • Other ways to take action in your home, school, and community

Know the policies

Across Wisconsin, local coalitions work from the grassroots up to help enact policies that protect communities from tobacco’s dangerous effects. Local efforts are important and build momentum for statewide change, but without comprehensive statewide policies, too many of our neighbors get left out. That’s why it is important to develop comprehensive statewide tobacco policies that help every Wisconsin youth live a healthy, tobacco-free life.

Policies that need your support

Yellow circle with a gavel symbol: Support restricting all flavors, including menthol
Yellow circle with a clipboard and check mark icon: Support comprehensive tobacco-free school policies
Yellow circle with an up arrow: Support increasing the tax on e-cigarettes
Yellow circle with a bag of money symbol: Ask lawmakers to increase the price of tobacco products
Yellow circle with blow horn symbol: Advocate for closing the tax loophole on little cigars
Yellow circle with school symbol: Ask college campuses to go tobacco-free
Yellow circle with license symbol: Support lawmakers to license e-cigarette retailers
Yellow circle with no smoking symbol: Support including e-cigarettes in Wisconsin's smoke-free law
Yellow circle with check mark: Help ensure tobacco products move behind the counter

Get connected locally by joining a coalition mailing list.

If you're interested in joining a coalition mailing list, email the Wisconsin Commercial Tobacco Prevention and Treatment Program at gina.larsen@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Last revised May 22, 2024