MADISON (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin man's story of a fight with smoking-related cancer is part of a national ad campaign.
A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ad features Shane, from Kewaunee. Shane started smoking when he was 18, and nearly 20 years later discovered he had throat cancer. The cancer took his throat, larynx and part of his esophagus and he now can only breathe and speak through a stoma.
"I honestly never thought I would have a problem at all other than the fact that I couldn't quite breathe as good as I used to, but I was definitely wrong," Shane says in one of the videos posted to the CDC's website.
The ads, which have been running since March, are the second phase of the CDC's campaign, designed to scare smokers into quitting. Here in Wisconsin, experts say it may be working.
"It's doubling calls to the quit line the weeks that the ads are running and I just think they're really powerful ads with real people suffering from serious chronic conditions," says Kate Kobinsky, coordinator of the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.
The week before the TV ads began to air, the quit line got 224 calls. The following week, after the commercials were aired, operators took 462 calls. The quit line is organized by the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. The research center is part of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, working to develop appropriate treatments to help smokers who want to quit.
Since the start of the campaign on March 4, more than 250,000 calls came in to the national quit line number.
Kobinsky says the quit line quadruples a smokers' chance of actually quitting. Going cold turkey, a smoker has less than a 5 percent chance of successfully putting an end to their habit.
Counselors say quit plans are not one size fits all, so calling the quit line is the best way to find all the options out there and get help where you live.
Call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) to speak with someone who can help.