LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

It is estimated about 5,000 Wisconsin residents die from tobacco-related illnesses every year.

To combat those numbers, health officials are challenging people to quit their addiction today with the national 'Great American Smokeout'.

The day began in 1976 as a way for the American Cancer Society to provide information and help smokers quit the habit.

Local health officials say quitting smoking can benefit anyone.

"The sooner you quit the better. There are mixed studies that suggest even people who are now diagnosed with lung cancer may do better if they stop smoking at that time rather than continue to smoke."

If you or someone you know is looking for help quitting tobacco, you can call 1-800 Quit Now in Wisconsin or 888-354 Plan in Minnesota.