How does tobacco affect my risk of cancer?
Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. At least 172 of these are toxic and 69 are known to cause cancer.1 Tobacco is the only consumer product that will kill at least 1 in 2 regular users when used as it’s intended to be used.2
Non-smokers can get cancer from breathing in other people’s smoke. And people who chew tobacco increase their risk of getting cancer of the mouth (oral), esophagus and pancreas3,4.
The toxic chemicals in tobacco can cause cancer, but the nicotine is what makes it addictive. It only takes seven seconds for nicotine to reach the brain. The nicotine causes euphoria, but soon larger doses are needed to produce the same effect. Tobacco users feel very strong symptoms when their nicotine levels drop.
Most Albertans who use tobacco want to quit. And there are many new supports that make it easier than ever before.
Quitting is an important step toward preventing cancer. It is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and protect the health of your friends and family. From the moment you quit, your health will begin to improve. The benefits just keep adding up, and even extend beyond cancer prevention.
- Within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack decreases.
- In 9 months, your lung function improves with less coughing and shortness of breath.
- In 10 years, your risk of dying from lung cancer reduces by half.
Help for quitting tobacco
If you want to quit, Alberta Quits can help. Operated by experts in stopping tobacco, Alberta Quits gives you unlimited access, day and night, to community chat forums, information on medications to help you quit, and fact sheets on various tobacco-related topics. There is even an “ask the experts” section where AHS tobacco experts answer all your questions. You can sign up for e-quit tips, as well as an interactive texting service, all designed to guide you step-by-step through the quitting process. And because this is your journey, the website lets you personalize your dashboard and build your own plan to quit.
It’s free to use and research shows that getting help makes you twice as likely to be successful at quitting.
To double your chances of living a tobacco-free life that lets you prevent many forms of cancer, visit Alberta Quits and use the following tools:
- Get support:
- One important part of quitting smoking is getting help from those around you. For more information visit MyHealth Getting Support.
- Calculate your savings:
- Quitting tobacco use really does lead to a richer life. Use this quit calculator tool to see how much you’ll be saving once you are tobacco free.
- Deal with relapse:
- If you slip or smoke a little, don’t give up. Talk to someone. Don’t feel bad about yourself. A relapse is just a sign that you need to try a different approach. Visit MyHealth Dealing With Relapse.
- Additional tools to help you:
If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing you can do to prevent cancer. More than 1 in 7 cases of cancer in Alberta are caused by tobacco use.
Which cancers are linked to tobacco?
Tobacco increases the risk of the following types of cancer: