Q: Should someone already diagnosed with cancer bother to quit smoking?

Q: Should someone already diagnosed with cancer bother to quit smoking?
Q: Should someone already diagnosed with cancer bother to quit smoking?

Yes. There are many reasons that people diagnosed with cancer should quit smoking.

For those having surgery or other treatments, quitting smoking helps improve the body’s ability to heal and respond to the cancer treatment, and it lowers the risk of pneumonia and respiratory failure.

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Q: Does quitting smoking lower the risk of cancer?

Q: Does quitting smoking lower the risk of cancer?
Q: Does quitting smoking lower the risk of cancer?

Quitting smoking substantially reduces the risk of developing and dying from cancer, and this benefit increases the longer a person remains smoke free.

However, even after many years of not smoking, the risk of lung cancer in former smokers remains higher than in people who have never smoked.

The risk of premature death and the chance of developing cancer due to cigarettes depend on the number of years of smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the age at which smoking began, and the presence or absence of illness at the time of quitting.

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Q: What are the long-term benefits of quitting smoking?

Q: What are the long-term benefits of quitting smoking?
Q: What are the long-term benefits of quitting smoking?

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease and lung disease, caused by smoking.

People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness.

Studies have shown that quitting at about age 30 reduces the chance of dying from smoking-related diseases by more than 90 percent.

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Q: What are the immediate benefits of quitting smoking?

Q: What are the immediate benefits of quitting smoking?
Q: What are the immediate benefits of quitting smoking?

The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial.

Heart rate and blood pressure, which were abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal.

Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline.
(Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas found in cigarette smoke, reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.)

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Q: Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?

Q: Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?
Q: Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?

Yes. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful. Of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. The toxic chemicals found in smoke include hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used as an embalming fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners).

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Q: What health problems are caused by smoking?

Q: What health problems are caused by smoking?
Q: What health problems are caused by smoking?

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.

Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, lung disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections.

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How to Quit Smoking The Basics

How to Quit Smoking The Basics
How to Quit Smoking The Basics

The Basics

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you will ever do. You will live a longer, healthier life.
It will be time well spent with the people you love – your family and friends. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.
Smoking causes:

  • Lung cancer
  • 11 other types of cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lung disorders
  • Gum disease
  • Vision problems

Common complaints while quitting smoking

SymptomPossible CauseSuggested Coping Methods
Craving for a CigaretteWithdrawal from nicotine, a strongly addictive drug.Wait out the urge. Urges last only a few minutes. Exercise; go for a walk around the block. Practice the four D’s – Distract yourself, Deep breathing, Drink water, and Do something else.
IrritabilityBody’s craving for nicotine.Brisk walks, hot baths & showers, relaxation techniques.
FatigueNicotine is a stimulant.Take naps; do not push yourself.
InsomniaNicotine affects brain wave function, influences sleep patterns; dreams about smoking are common.Avoid caffeine after 6PM. Use relaxation techniques.
Cough,Dry Throat, Nasal DripBody getting rid of mucous which has blocked airways and restricted breathing.Drink plenty of fluids; drink cold water, fruit juice, tea; use cough drops, gum or hard candy.
DizzinessBody is getting extra oxygen.Take extra caution; change positions slowly.
Lack of ConcentrationBody needs time to adjust to not having constant stimulation from nicotine.Plan workload accordingly; avoid additional stress during first few weeks.
Tightness in ChestProbably due to tension created by the body’s need for nicotine; may also be caused by sore muscles from coughing.Use relaxation techniques, especially deep breathing exercises.
HungerCraving for cigarette can be confused with hunger pangs; Oral craving – desire for something in the mouth.Drink water or low-calorie liquids; be prepared with low-calorie snacks.
Constipation, Gas, Stomach PainIntestinal movement decreases for a brief period.Drink plenty of fluids; add roughage to diet (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals).
HeadachesBrain is experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to lack of nicotine based on prior conditioning.Take a warm bath or shower; do deep breathing exercises; use a cold compress.

Adapted from Cummings et al.Addictive Behaviors Vol. 10:373-381

Q: What can parents do?

Q: What can parents do?
Q: What can parents do?

If you smoke:
– avoid smoking around children, especially in the house or car;
– think about stopping smoking. For information on how to stop smoking, talk with your doctor, public health nurse, or the local lung association;

If someone else in your home smokes:

– ask them not to smoke near other members of the family;
– suggest they smoke outside the house, but not in the car;