Survivorship

Quitting Smoking

Frequently asked questions

by Donna Manders MPH, Tobacco Cessation Specialist, Smoke Free Life Program, Clinic Coordinator, Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Evidence continues to mount that it is never too late for people to stop smoking, even when facing a cancer diagnosis.  Stopping tobacco use can significantly increase cancer patients’ chance of survival and improve their quality of life1. For example, a study published in January, 2010 shows that people diagnosed with early stage lung cancer can double their chances of survival over five years if they stop smoking compared with those who continue to smoke2.

Yet, despite their increased risk of chronic health conditions, second cancers, and premature death, a significant number of cancer survivors continue to smoke. Recent National Cancer Institute data show that cancer survivors aged 18 to 44 report smoking at higher rates than the rest of the population in the United States.  Cancer survivors over age 44 report smoking at rates that are similar to the rest of the population3.

We are here to help

Studies show that people who receive tobacco cessation counseling are more likely to quit for good than people who do not receive counseling4. If you have been thinking about quitting and would like assistance in developing a quit plan, contact the SCCA Smoke Free Life Program at 206-288-7766.  The Smoke Free Life Program is a service available to patients and their caregivers.

Smoke Free Life counselors can help you develop a personalized quit smoking plan that addresses physical withdrawal from nicotine and emotional and  behavioral issues related to using tobacco. If you are interested in using a medication to help control withdrawal symptoms, we can discuss which approach may work best for you.  We also provide information about additional resources to aid with quitting.

For more information about the benefits of quitting and the SCCA Smoke Free Life Program, see http://www.seattlecca.org/smoke-free-life.cfm. For daily Quit Tips, follow us at www.twitter.com/SmokeFreeLife.

References

  1. Gritz ER, Fingeret MC, Vidrine DJ, Lazev AB, Mehta NV, Reece GP. Successes and failures of the teachable moment: smoking cessation in cancer patients. Cancer 2006;106:17-27.
  2. Parsons A, Daley A, Begh R, Aeyard. Influences of smoking cessation after diagnosis of early stage lung cancer on prognosis: systematic review of observational studies with meta-analysis. BMJ, 2010;340:b5569
  3. National Cancer Institute. Smoking Cessation and Continued Risk in Cancer Patients (PDQ) Health Professional Version. Last Modified: 04/14/2010
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence Clinical Practice Guideline 2008  Update

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What resources are available to assist me to quit smoking?

  • Free Nicotine Patches: Available to people with health insurance coverage  from the SCCA Pharmacy. Patch prescriptions can be filled, as well.
  • Washington State Quit Line: or 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Quit coaches provide free quit kits and nicotine patches or gum when appropriate. They can also help develop a quit plan tailored to  each person's unique needs and challenges.
  • Free & Clear: specializes in online learning supported by phone-based cognitive behavioral coaching to help employers improve the  health and productivity of their workforce. Free & Clear’s evidence-based programs address the four key modifiable health risks that contribute to chronic disease: tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and stress.
  • National Cancer Institute: information about the benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Centers for Disease Control: tobacco cessation advice.
  • Legacy Foundation: develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, to help all young people reject tobacco, and give everyone access to tobacco prevention and cessation services.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.