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About Us

Every South Dakotan should enjoy a life free from the burden of tobacco use.

Be Tobacco Free SD is brought to you by the South Dakota Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program (TCP). The program promotes prevention, cessation, and education and aims to reduce tobacco use rates and tobacco-related disease in South Dakota.

BeFreeSD.com provides resources and tools for state agencies, communities, and coalitions to support these efforts.

Traditional vs. Commercial Tobacco

Tobacco-free policies prohibit use of commercial tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco (“chew”) and e-cigarettes (“vape”).

The TCP acknowledges the spiritual and ceremonial value that traditional tobacco has in American Indian culture. “Tobacco-free” refers to commercial tobacco products only and never the traditional tobacco of our Northern Plains American Indians.

Tobacco’s Toll in South Dakota

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable and premature death.

  • 1,300 SD adults die every year from smoking.
  • 21,000 SD kids under 18 alive today will die prematurely from smoking.

As cigarette use declines, the next generation of tobacco users are recruited with deceptive products like e-cigarettes. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, e-cigarette use among youth has hit epidemic levels. Because most regular tobacco use starts during adolescence, these products put South Dakota youth at risk for a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

In addition to health consequences, South Dakota’s economy also suffers:

  • Every year, South Dakota spends $373 million in healthcare costs and loses $282.5 million in productivity, directly caused by smoking.
  • Residents’ state and federal tax burdens from smoking-caused government expenditures equal $790 per household every year.
  • Medicaid costs caused by smoking in South Dakota equal $70.2 million every year.

Our Work

The TCP follows a set of core values that shape statewide and local efforts.

Vision

All South Dakotans will enjoy healthy lives free from the devastation of chronic disease.

Mission

Improve quality of life, health, and well-being in South Dakota through effective leadership, surveillance, education, advocacy, and partnership development.

Guiding Principles

Strive for comprehensive tobacco control

Our approach applies a mix of educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies as identified in the CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, an evidence-based guide to planning and establishing effective tobacco control programs to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

Focus on tobacco-related disparities

Because some of South Dakota’s populations face a higher proportion of tobacco-related challenges, we’ve prioritized specialized services for these groups.

Pursue collaboration

Collaboration increases the success of our tobacco control efforts. We value opportunities to work with our national, state, and local partners in public health, healthcare and educational systems, and community-based organizations.

Our Initiatives

  • Collaborate with state and community partners through our staff and Tobacco Prevention Coordinators
  • Support local partner organizations and coalitions
  • Provide training and technical assistance on best practices
  • Collect, analyze, and distribute state and community-level data
  • Educate on evidence-based strategies to reduce tobacco use
  • Develop and distribute health communication interventions
  • Provide and promote cessation resources