Reasons to quit

If you’re a smoker, choosing to stop is a decision that will benefit your health. Smoking increases the risk of several types of cancer. It can also lead to heart and lung diseases. If you are coping with a cancer diagnosis, you may find it stressful to give up smoking. However, research has shown that non-smokers have fewer side effects during cancer treatment. If you are ready to stop, giving up smoking will help you feel better and be healthier.

You’ll find that giving up smoking has many benefits:

  • Health benefits – our doctor can discuss this with you and explain how smoking affects your body.
  • Financial benefits – giving up smoking could allow you to save up to £2,000 a year.
  • Physical benefits – our skin will look better.
  • Benefits to your family – you’ll protect them against the damaging effects of passive smoking.

Heath benefits of giving up smoking

People smoke for a number of reasons. Most smokers do it because they find it relieves stress and helps them relax. Smoking can also be a source of support when things go wrong and can give a feeling of pleasure. These are all reasons why many people continue smoking once they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

Living with cancer and its treatment can be very difficult, and you may feel you need all the support you can get, including smoking. Nobody can force you to give up – the best reason to stop smoking is because you want to and because you feel ready to.

Sometimes your doctor may advise you on the benefits of stopping smoking in your specific situation or for your type of cancer. Having an understanding of how smoking affects your health may also motivate you to stop. Smoking increases the risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, mouth, gullet, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix, and some types of leukaemia. It also increases your risk of developing many other health problems, including heart and lung diseases, strokes, circulatory problems, dementia, impotence and infertility.

There’s also some research that shows that smoking can make some types of cancer grow more quickly. This may be because smoking weakens the body’s immunity and some of the chemicals in cigarette smoke may help the tumour to grow.

Non-smokers have fewer side effects from cancer treatment than smokers.

If you’re having treatment for cancer, stopping smoking will help you with this too. It can help the body’s ability to respond to treatment and heal. In general, non-smokers have fewer side effects from cancer treatment, and the side effects they do have tend to be less severe. Stopping smoking may also lower the risk of cancer coming back after treatment.

Financial benefits

Smoking is expensive, so quitting will also save you money. If you smoke twenty a day, you spend about £2,000 a year on cigarettes. Stopping means you’ll have more money to spend on other things.

Physical benefits

Smoking causes premature skin ageing. Within a few weeks of stopping, your skin will look clearer and brighter. And straight away, your breath, hair and clothes will smell better.

Benefits to your family

Smoking doesn’t only harm your own health. People around you, who are exposed to second-hand smoke (called passive smoking), are also at a higher risk of getting smoking-related diseases.

Children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. If you have children or grandchildren, you can become a good role model for them by quitting. Also, children of parents who smoke often worry about their parents’ health, so by giving up you’ll be putting your children’s minds at rest.

Back to Giving up smoking

Preparing to stop

Giving up smoking can be challenging. There are several things you can do that will help you quit.

Staying stopped

If you’ve decided to give up smoking, several things can help you stay stopped.

Reducing the cravings

There are several medicines you can use to reduce cravings and help you give up smoking.