Melissa Quit Via the Quit Line’s American Indian Program


Melissa started smoking when she was 11 years old.

She would sneak Salems from her grandma’s purse and meet her friends at the park.

“We would smoke and think we looked like glamour queens,” Melissa said. It wasn’t until her mid-20s when she smoked regularly. “It started socially, at parties, and then got more and more regular.”

Eventually, she reached a pack a day. “And I was an alcoholic.”

Then she noticed her overall health changing. Her skin started to wrinkle, she said. So she went to rehab, quit drinking and noticed her health improving.

“I thought, I could really benefit from stopping smoking, too. I’m approaching 50, half a century old. I had always wanted to quit.”

So she called the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line and enrolled in the American Indian Program. Enrollment in the program has more than doubled this year, from 60 participants last year to 127 this year. More than 254 people have benefitted from the American Indian Program.

“The Quit Line did help. I was impressed with the complete package that they offered me. My coach made sure I had meds and emails and calls, and pinpoint a day to quit. I appreciated the advice that was given to remove ash trays out of the home. Those little things kick-started my motivation and gave me something to jump off of.”

She’s delighted to be smoke-free. “You don’t smell like an ash tray. You can breathe easier and you can notice it within hours. Within a couple days, you feel better. Your skin gets healthier. Your car smells better, I’m not embarrassed to walk into a room after having a cigarette.”

Now free of drinking and smoking, “I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. I quit so that I could live longer and see my children, get married, and be able to play with my grandbabies!”

She would advise anyone else who wants to address their smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco to call the free Quit Line any time. “They offer you medications and coaching. It was all-inclusive. I’d be getting text messages. The communication and reminders, I’d get a phone call or text reminder to stop. They offer a lot of support. I was genuinely surprised. It was an all-inclusive package to give me every tool they could.”

People can reach the Quit Line by calling 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), by texting READY to 34191 or by visiting

“Write down all the benefits of not smoking so you get a visualization,” Melissa suggests. “You can do it.”