Today is World No Tobacco Day, a day that aims to highlight the risks that come with using tobacco. In this blog, our editor Elissia explains some of the benefits of stopping smoking and not using smokeless tobacco, especially if you have cancer.

You may smoke to relieve stress or boredom. It may be comforting for you or give a feeling of pleasure. If you’re living with cancer and its treatment you may feel that smoking helps you cope.

Unfortunately smoking and the use of tobacco can also be the cause of many different health problems, including some cancers. If you’d like to stop, it might help to think about some of the benefits.


Benefits if you are having cancer treatment

If you’re having treatment, stopping smoking can help your body respond better to treatment and heal. It may reduce the number of side effects you have, or make any side effects you do have less severe. Not smoking also lowers the risk of cancer coming back after treatment.


Benefits to your health

Giving up smoking and using smokeless tobacco can improve your general health. It can:

  • increase your energy levels
  • improve your circulation
  • reduce your risk of having a stroke
  • lower your blood pressure
  • boost your immune system
  • help to make sure you don’t have a higher risk of some cancers, or heart or lung disease.


Benefits to your finances

Smoking is expensive, so quitting would mean you could spend the money on other things.


Physical benefits

Quitting also has physical benefits, for example your skin becomes clearer and brighter and your breath, hair and clothes will smell better.


Benefits for your family and friends

When you smoke, the people around you are exposed to it too. This is called passive smoking. By stopping, you can reduce their risk of developing smoking-related diseases, including cancer.  It can also help to make sure your children don’t have a higher risk of developing asthma when they are young. Stopping may also make it less likely that your children or grandchildren will smoke.


Tips to help you give up

Giving up smoking isn’t easy. But here are some tips that might help you succeed:

  • Make a list of your reasons for stopping.
  • Get support – for example from family and friends, your GP or pharmacist or your local stop smoking service for England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • Use medicines to help reduce any cravings – speak to your GP or a stop smoking adviser about your options.
  • Set a date to stop completely.
  • Try to find other ways of dealing with stress – this could be exercise, relaxation or meditation aids.
  • Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters.
  • Use a smoking diary – this can give you an idea of your smoking habits.


If you’d like more information about any of these topics, we have detailed information in our booklet Giving up smoking and on our website.

 A person holding a copy of the booklet Giving up smoking

To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

Comments? Feel free to add them below (you need to be logged in).

Keep in touch Follow Macmillan’s cancer information team on Twitter@mac_cancerinfo