Several Wisconsin media outlets report on smoking study led by UW–Madison’s Tanya Schlam

Several media outlets across Wisconsin recently reported on a UW–Madison study that found people who fail to quit smoking should immediately try again.

The multi-year study, led by Department of Kinesiology assistant professor Tanya Schlam, was published in the journal Addiction. It found people who immediately try again to quit smoking after a failed attempt are more successful than people who take time before another try.


Wisconsin Public Radio, WKOW-TV in Madison, and the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram all produced original reports on the study. Those reports were picked up by WXOW-TV in La Crosse, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Racine Journal Times, and the Wausau Pilot and Review. 

The Wisconsin Public Radio coverage was an hour-long segment on “The Morning Show” in which Schlam joined an advocate from the American Lung Association to discuss how Wisconsin could improve its response to tobacco use.

“It can be somewhat challenging to quit smoking and it really helps if the policies of the state make it easier and really support it,” Schlam said during the segment. 

The WKOW-TV segment outlined the study findings as well as smoking rates in Wisconsin, which are comparable to national rates. Schlam told WKOW the study aims to support medical professionals working to help people who want to quit the habit. 

“Sometimes, medical professionals are hesitant to ask patients if they’d be interested in quitting smoking and to ask them to consider quitting again after they relapse,” Schlam said. “But most of our study participants were up for it, and that’s great news. We needed to know how to help them. Now we know the answer is not to wait.”

That segment was picked up by WXOW-TV in La Crosse. 

The Leader-Telegram coverage of the study was an editorial titled, “Good news on smoking cessation.” In addition to sharing the study’s findings, the editorial weighed in on its social value and importance. 

“Amid the concerns about vaping and tobacco use that isn’t related to cigarettes, it’s good to see a headline that speaks to the clear interest in quitting,” the editorial said. “It’s not easy. But we can’t think of anyone who has succeeded who looks back and regrets it.”

The Racine Journal Times, Wisconsin State Journal, and Wausau Pilot and Review reprinted the editorial. 

Broadly, Schlam’s research focuses on behavior change and has included the study and development of novel treatments for smoking cessation, including mobile health interventions. She says her work aims to help people develop the behavioral and cognitive skills to lead as healthy lives as possible, despite societal, environmental, interpersonal, and psychological challenges.

Read the full text of her study, “What to Do After Smoking Relapse? A Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial of Chronic Care Smoking Treatments,” here.

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