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Fall 2020 Newsletter: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Quit!

October 23, 2020

We know that smoking and vape weaken the immune system and that makes it harder to fight viruses that attack the lungs—like COVID-19 and the flu. With COVID-19 still looming in our communities and flu season quickly approaching, it’s especially important to protect our health and a really good time to kick that nicotine habit for good! 

Fortunately, the QuitLine has lots of ways to help anyone 13 and older find the tools and support that will help them quit. Our new TV spot will air in October and November to help encourage people to put their lungs first and quit today! 

P.S. Check out these evidence-based references for more information on how both COVID-19 and the flu negatively affect the lungs and how smoking harms the immune system:

Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19​
Smoking & Tobacco Use: Health Effects


Teens who vape at increased risk for COVID-19

National data suggests that vaping is still a big problem among teens and young adults and use rates continue to climb. In fact, vaping has more than DOUBLED across youth age groups from 2017-2019:

  • 12th graders went from 11% to 25%
  • 10th graders went from 8% to 20%
  • 8th graders went from 4% to 9%

Even more concerning is the fact that, teens and young adults ages 13-24 who use e-cigarettes are five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. As we find out more about the disease’s far-reaching effects, we see how important keeping lungs strong and healthy is.

Encourage the young people you work with to avoid e-cigarettes, and actively support their quitting efforts. You can even point them to a free texting service operated by Truth. By texting “DITCHJUUL” to 88709 or going online, they can access 24/7 motivation to help them quit on their own terms.

The SD QuitLine is available for e-cigarette users too! Anyone over age 13 can call 1-866-SD-Quits or go online:

Learn more about the risks associated with COVID-19 and tobacco use.

SD QuitLine data briefs are live!

Data is a powerful tool and there’s a whole new section on to help keep you up to date. The information is categorized in three easily accessible collections:

Seven Months Outcome Briefs

Track effectiveness of statewide tobacco cessation efforts.

Coalitions Briefs

Access QuitLine data from organizations and communities across the state.

Priority Populations Briefs

Find the information you need about the groups South Dakota places special focus on.

TATU training goes virtual

The TATU tobacco prevention program emphasizes tobacco-free advocacy and prepares older teens to be role models for younger kids. Participants will learn:

  • How addictive tobacco is
  • To recognize how the tobacco industry markets is products to young people
  • How important their role is in shaping the attitudes of their peers

Virtual workshops are being scheduled for teams of 4-10 students plus 1 advisor statewide. There is no cost for participants and mini-grants are available for qualifying schools. For more information contact the Northeast Region Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, Ashley Heyne, at

QuitLine Diabetes Awareness GIF

Smoking causes type 2 diabetes

People who smoke are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes at any age. In fact, smokers can be 30 to 40% more likely to get type 2 diabetes. The facts are stark:  

  • Chemicals in cigarettes harm the body’s cells by causing inflammation. 
  • Nicotine further changes cells so they increase blood sugar levels and don’t respond to insulin. 
  • Smokers can be more likely to develop belly fat, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Diabetes can cause even more complications like vision loss, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. 

The easiest way to quit smoking is by not starting. Tap into the resources in the Be Free SD media library to promote a strong anti-tobacco message in your community.

The Find Your Power Toolkit is LIVE online!

Explore the new Canli Coalition Tribal Advocacy Toolkit.

This incredible digital resource provides everything you need to educate, inspire, and promote tobacco and vape free policies in your community. Use these customizable tools and ideas in your ongoing public health work.

Keep in touch

The SD Tobacco Control Program welcomes your feedback. If you have questions about media efforts, need help sharing, or want more information: