Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ

At first, it’s about FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE.

Then it’s a way to RELAX or RELIEVE STRESS. But it doesn’t take long for tobacco use to become a DEADLY HABIT.

If you are ready to quit, thinking about quitting, or know someone who wants to quit, here are a few facts to keep in mind:

Why should I quit?

More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. It’s the most preventable cause of death.

And, South Dakota has higher rates of teen smoking than national averages. Yikes! But we have the tools to help smokers quit and prevent new smokers from ever starting. Quitting is tough… but so are you.

Does smoking cause immediate damage?

Yes. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. It causes many diseases and reduces the overall health of smokers in general. The average smoker will die 13 to 14 years earlier than a nonsmoker.

Smoking causes shortness of breath, increased incidence of asthma and emphysema, and can be directly linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and almost every type of cancer including lung, throat, and mouth. Smokers are far more likely to suffer from chronic disease than are nonsmokers.

Is there any safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke?

No. When you smoke, either directly or secondhand, you are inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals: hundreds of these are hazardous, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. Every inhalation of tobacco smoke exposes our children, our families, and our loved ones to dangerous chemicals that can damage their bodies and result in life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

How does smoking affect my life?

Smoking decreases your quality of life. Smoking isolates you from family and friends. It smells, it’s expensive, and the effects of secondhand smoke on your loved ones can be as deadly for them as smoking is for you. The healthcare costs of smoking related illness and loss of work is staggering, not only for smokers, but for everyone.

What are some quick tips to help me quit?

  1. Call the toll-free South Dakota QuitLine at 1.866.SD-QUITS (1-866-737-8487).
  2. List your reasons to quit. Keep them in mind through tough times.
  3. Build a quit team: your friends, family, doctor, dentist. Let them know you’re quitting so they can support you.
  4. Set a quit date. Mark your calendar and let everyone know.
  5. Tune in to your triggers. Plan other things you can do at those times.
  6. Make your quit day different and special. Change your routine, exercise. Drink lots of water and do something special for yourself.
  7. Don’t give in to cravings. These usually last for only 3-5 minutes.
  8. Be prepared for a slip or relapse. It’s not a sign of failure. But don’t give up!

What are the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle?

The health benefits of quitting are immediate and include reduced risk of cancers, heart disease, and stroke. A 35 year-old man who quits smoking will, on average, increase his life expectancy by 5 years!

  • After 20 minutes your pulse and blood pressure return to normal.
  • After 12 hours your oxygen level returns to normal, and carbon monoxide and nicotine levels in the blood are reduced to half.
  • Within 24 hours your lungs start to clear out smoking debris and mucus, and carbon monoxide will be eliminated from your body.
  • After 48 hours your ability to smell and taste is improved.
  • Within 2 weeks the circulation of your whole body improves.
  • Within 3-9 months the function of your lungs are increased up to 10%, and there is less coughing and wheezing.
  • Within 5 years your risk of heart attack falls to about half.

10 important facts about the dangers of tobacco.

  1. From healthy to deadly… Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, causing 87% of lung cancer deaths in men, and 70% of lung cancer deaths in women. 1
  2. 60 to 78 percent of chewing tobacco users have oral lesions. Exposure to tobacco juice causes cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach, and pancreas.2,3
  3. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths to non-smokers each year in the US. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. 4
  4. When you smoke, you add lethal poisons into your bloodstream. The same blood stream you share with your baby. Smoking can damage baby’s lungs and lead to premature birth and underweight babies. 5
  5. Not just harmless water vapor! E-cigarettes (and secondhand vape) deliver a cocktail of toxic chemicals including carcinogens. Plus, e-cig liquid is highly poisonous—a teaspoon of it, even highly diluted, will kill a small child or pet. For more information, visit 6,7
  6. Thirdhand smoke is the invisible combination of particles and gases that remain after secondhand smoke clears. The sticky chemical residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens, and other harmful chemicals that babies and young children (even pets) can get on their hands and clothes and then ingest. 8,9
  7. Chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. A can of chew tobacco can be more addictive than a pack of cigarettes because it contains more nicotine. One can holds as much nicotine as 80 cigarettes. 10
  8. Just one puff from a hookah can fill your lungs with 12 times more smoke than ONE hit from a cigarette, and in 1 hour hookah smokers can be exposed to 100 times the volume of smoke inhaled with a single cigarette. 11,12
  9. Many South Dakotans don’t know what the real cost of tobacco is. State and Federal tax bills add up to $828 per family. Sooner or later, we all pay. 13
  10. Secondhand smoke can trigger severe asthma attacks that could actually put a child’s life in danger. If you smoke, quit. If your family and friends smoke, ask them to keep it away from your children. 14