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Avoid Tobacco

You can reduce your risk for cancer and other diseases if you quit tobacco or never start. Tobacco causes many types of cancer. It 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)

Health Benefits of Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco benefits your body as soon as you quit and for long after.


Your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal.

Within hours:

The level of carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) in your blood begins to decline.

Within days:

Your mouth feels cleaner and your teeth look whiter.

Within weeks:

  • Your circulation improves.
  • You have less phlegm.
  • You cough and wheeze less.
  • Your sense of smell and taste get better.

Within months:

  • Your lung function improves greatly.
  • Your risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease goes way down.
  • If you have ulcers, the ulcers improve. The risk of ulcers coming back goes down.
  • The risk of mouth sores, gum problems, and tooth loss goes down.

Even if you already have a tobacco-related disease, quitting still has benefits:

  • For tobacco users with coronary heart disease, quitting reduces the risk of more heart attacks and improves general health.
  • Smokers diagnosed with lung cancer can improve how well their body responds to treatment. Quitting also reduces the risk of the cancer coming back.

Get Help Quitting

Even if you have used tobacco for a long time or already have cancer, you can benefit from quitting now. For people with cancer, quitting tobacco helps the body heal and respond better to treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Quitting tobacco can reduce your risk of cancer coming back or getting a second cancer.

Tobacco can be hard to quit. It can be hard to avoid if you live with someone who uses tobacco. The resources below can help you or your loved one quit.