State Cuts Impacting Tobacco Quit Line

 Springfield - It's highly addictive, and inherently dangerous to your health, but smoking continues to affect millions across the state.

"18% of people in Illinois smoke, that's 1.7M adults.  Over 18,000 people die each year in Illinois from smoking," said the American Cancer Society's community manager Morgan Trump.

One of the state's tools to help people quit smoking, the Tobacco Quit Line, got hit with serious cuts in the current budget.

That includes about $13,000 cut in Sangamon County alone.  The Sangamon County Department of Public Health says that those dollars were to be used to promote the Quit Line in an effort to get people to kick the habit.

As a result of those cuts, it could be those trying to quit who will be affected most.

"We're really disappointed in the proposed cuts for the quit line.  It's not good for the state's health or our economy here.  People who are deciding to quit, and are highly motivated to quit in the state of Illinois need somebody on the other end of that phone call to help make this an effective quit and a healthy life decision," added Trump.

However, other groups, like the Illinois Policy Institute's Kristina Rasmussen, say while things like the Tobacco Quit Line are worth-while, sometimes cuts have to be made for the greater good of everyone.

"Big picture, Illinois had years of record revenues.  We all paid higher income taxes and we were told that that money would be used to balance the budget.  The cuts that we're facing right now are in part a consequence of an unreformed pension system.  It's not that that they're not worthy programs, but you do have to prioritize.  There isn't enough money for everything so pick what's absolutely a core government responsibility and everything else might have to wait another day," said Rasmussen.

The American Cancer Society reminds those trying to quit they do have a help line to assist as well.

You can contact that number at 1-800-227-2345.   

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