The Illinois Tobacco Quitline has been closed due to the $26 million in budget suspensions issued by Gov. Bruce Rauner earlier this month.
Calls to the hotline are greeted by a recorded message stating that the service is closed until future notice and more than two dozen of the program's staffers have been laid off, according to the Associated Press.
"There are so many people - thousands of them - who are in the midst of quitting, and they are going to be left hanging," Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, said.
Funding for the program could restart on July 1 as part of Rauner's fiscal plan, but the budget would be smaller.
Meanwhile, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) blasted the closure, saying the budget decision was "the poster child for being short-sighted."
"This was so illogical," Cullerton said. "We save money on the Medicaid program when people stop smoking."