It’s no secret that tobacco use is bad for your health. In fact, over-the-counter tobacco products are legally required to include warning labels making consumers aware of the dangers of tobacco— especially the dangers of cancer. If purchasing tobacco, you may see one of the following warnings:
Additionally, in 2020, the FDA finalized the “Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements” rule, proposing 11 new cigarette health warnings, consisting of textual warning statements accompanied by color graphics that focus on lesser-known risks associated with smoking, such as erectile dysfunction, bladder cancer, and cataracts.
There’s no disputing that tobacco is harmful to your health. Yet, millions of people use it. In 2018, 11.8% of cancer survivors aged 18 and older reported being current cigarette smokers. And unfortunately, cigarette and cigar smoking is harmful to non-smokers as well. Secondhand smoke exposure (breathing in smoke from another person’s cigarette or cigar) can put people at a great risk of cancer, stroke, and heart attack.
Learn more about lung cancer screening and the importance of early detection.
As a cancer survivor, all of the warnings listed above regarding the dangers of tobacco apply to you. There are also several additional reasons why you should not use tobacco products if you’ve had cancer. Smoking after cancer treatment:
Ultimately, saying goodbye to tobacco products entirely will be what’s best for your health and the health of those around you. While that’s often easier said than done, you can succeed if you set your mind to it!
If you’re ready to stop smoking, talk to your doctor to help determine the best approach to help you achieve your goal of quitting for good whether it involves slowly tapering the amount of tobacco you use, quitting cold turkey, or using nicotine replacement gum or patches. There are also plenty of other resources available to help you quit. For example, the Minnesota Department of Health has developed a program called Quit Partner, which provides assistance to those who want to stop smoking. The program includes counseling sessions, educational materials, and a 24-hour helpline. Their toll-free number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). If you are not local, most states have a similar program, visit the American Lung Association for inspiration and advice.
Quitting tobacco is hard, but beating cancer is even harder. If you were able to survive cancer, it’s more than likely that you can kick your tobacco habit, too.