We are excited to share our Be Well Story with you today. Brittany of Sioux Falls has lost over 104 pounds! Check out her inspiration and motivation in a Q&A vlog with her.

Tomorrow is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Today, I thought we could address why quitting tobacco use is so hard.

Why Quitting is Hard

Addiction is when you lose control over the use of a drug. Nicotine in tobacco smoke is what causes you to be addicted to smoking. Tobacco companies make cigarettes so the nicotine gets to your brain very quickly. The faster nicotine gets to your brain, the more addictive it is. Nicotine from the patch or gum gets to your brain more slowly. This is why the patch and gum rarely cause addiction.

It can be hard to quit when you are addicted to tobacco. There are three reasons for this.

  1. Emotional: how you feel when you use tobacco, what you believe about tobacco use, and how you think about tobacco.
  2. Behavioral: How you respond to places and times when you want to smoke, like when you are having a cup of coffee or taking a break from work.
  3. Physical: Your body craves the nicotine in tobacco. The nicotine cycle happens when your body and mind crave nicotine. It helps to understand this cycle so you can break it.

You smoke.

Nicotine quickly goes to your brain (as quickly as seven seconds with each puff.)

You feel relaxed and good.

Your nicotine level falls quickly after smoking a cigarette.

You feel a craving for another cigarette (nicotine).

You think, “I want a smoke” or feel irritable or restless without it.

Cycle Starts Over Again

Take this quiz to find out if you could be addicted:

  1. Do you smoke within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning?
  2. Do you smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day?
  3. Do you often have cravings for cigarettes (chew)?
  4. Do you smoke (chew) even when you are physically ill?
  5. Do you feel physically ill if you go more than 3 days without tobacco?

**If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be addicted.

 If you are a tobacco user and wish to quit, call the South Dakota quit line at 1-866-SD QUITS or speak to your health care provider.

For more information go to:  Great American Smoke Out.

Tis the season for coughs, colds and the flu…this year protect yourself and make sure you get your flu shot!


Do you feel like you are “coming down” with something, but don’t know if it is a cold or the flu? Here is a quick guide to help you:

Symptom Cold Flu (Influenza)
Fever Rare Characteristic, high (100-102 degrees F); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Prominent
General Aches, Pains Mild Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Mild Can last up to 2 to 3weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and prominent
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Complications Sinus congestion or earache Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Prevention Good hygiene Annual flu shot or FluMist
Treatment Only temporary of relief of symptoms Antiviral drugs within 24-48 hours of onset

As always, if you have any individual health concerns, check with your health care provider.

Vote for Your Health

Yes, yes, yes…we know—yesterday was election day—however at Be Well South Dakota…we believe every day is a good day to vote for good health.

Ballot Instructions: When it comes to good health, daily choices count.  Give yourself 1 point for every yes that best describes your daily health habit.


Be Well, United States

I consume 5 fruits and veggies daily.
I consume 3 ounces of whole grain daily.
I consume 3 cups of dairy daily.
I consume 5 ounces of protein daily.
Physical Activity
I am physically active 30 minutes every day.
I stretch 10 minutes daily.
I do muscle strengthening activities 2 times a week.
I have a physical activity plan in place.
Well Being
Most nights, I sleep 7 to 8 hours.
I take time for me every day.
I practice stress relief skills daily.
I spend time with family and/or friends daily.
Preventative Health
I have an annual physical with my health care provider.
I have an annual dental exam.
I get a flu shot every year.
I am up to date and aware of the health screening guidelines for my age group.

Tally up your yes’s to see how well you are doing in voting for your good health.
12-16 Yes’s—Congratulations you are a winner in choosing good health habits.
9-12 Yes’s—Awareness is a key to good health and you are well on your way to being a champion in healthy living choices.
6-8 Yes’s—You are doing okay, but you could do better. It is time for you to choose to change some of your no’s into yes’s.
0-5 Yes’s—If you don’t start saying yes to your health, your choices could lead to some serious health consequences. But, it is NOT too late to vote for your good health and in the winner’s circle.
For more information on how to change your no’s to yes’s please discuss your results with your health care provider.