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Cancer Prevention Tip: Avoid or Quit Tobacco

Read Time: 1 minute

Man standing outdoors and breathing in deeply with his eyes closed

For Cancer Prevention Month, we’re highlighting five behaviors that prevent almost 50% of all cancers. This week’s tip is to quit tobacco products.

You can reduce your risk for cancer and other diseases if you quit tobacco or never start. Tobacco causes many types of cancer and is the leading cause of cancer-related death.

Tobacco has thousands of harmful chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals have been linked to cancer. All tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, have nicotine. Nicotine is harmful and addictive. It makes quitting tobacco very hard.

Tobacco is harmful in any amount and any form:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Pipes and hookahs
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Smokeless tobacco (also called chewing tobacco, dip, chew, or snuff)

Practice the five Ds to help you quit


Every time you feel the urge to smoke, drink a glass of water.


Get your mind off tobacco. Try to stay busy. Pull out a puzzle, play games on your phone, or go for a walk.

Deep breath

Instead of filling your lungs with smoke, fill them with air. "Complete a square with your breath"—inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold for four seconds.


When you feel an urge, consider putting a timer on for five minutes and do something else. You may find the craving isn’t as intense when the timer is up.


When you are having cravings, talk to your family and friends. If you don’t have anyone around, write down your feelings.

Learn more about quitting tobacco at

Cancer touches all of us.