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5 tips to help people quit smoking tobacco

The single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer is to live smoke-free. But we understand the journey to quit smoking tobacco can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It can be a long and difficult journey but quitting is possible. You or your loved can quit.

Take a look at some advice below from our booklet, You Can Quit, and know that the Canadian Cancer Society can provide support and offer proven methods for quitting at any time.


A young woman breaks a cigarette in half

List your reasons for smoking

Ask yourself why you smoke and write all the different reasons down. Remember to be honest with yourself. Here are some common explanations that people give:

  •  “It relaxes me.”
  •  “Smoking curbs my appetite.”
  •  “It’s a social thing.”

A man writing in a notebook

List your reasons for quitting 

It’s important to understand your motivation to quit and consider the benefits of quitting. There can be many reasons, including the financial cost, the environmental impact or the negative effects on your health.

With commercial commercial tobacco containing about 600 ingredients and a burning cigarette creating more than 7,000 chemicals, smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease, lung disease and many types of cancer. The good news is your body bounces back from the minute you stop smoking! No matter how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking tobacco, you can reduce your risk of cancer by quitting.


Find out how addicted you are

Ask yourself how many cigarettes you smoke each day. Do you smoke within the first 30 minutes of waking up? Do you have trouble lasting more than 4 hours without a cigarette? Keep track of your smoke breaks to notice any patterns to when, where and why you smoke. Identify your triggers – people, places or things that make you want to smoke. Be honest and kind to yourself as you make these observations. By taking the time to understand your smoking behaviours and what gives you the urge to smoke, you will be better prepared to quit.


Set a quit date

There will never be a perfect day to quit smoking. But it’s important to set a date that you can work toward. Pick a day where you don’t have a deadline or other important occasions. Pick a day when quitting can be your main focus. And as you prepare for this date, you can try to reduce the amount you smoke so that as the day approaches, you may find yourself halfway quit!


A calendar

Ask for help and support

Your journey to quit smoking is unique, but there are people who can help. You’re not alone. We know that getting support more than doubles your chances of quitting successfully!
At the Canadian Cancer Society, we’re here to help at every stage of your quit journey. Speak to a caring and non-judgmental quit coach through a quitline, access a supportive online community 24/7, use a self-help booklet or overcome cravings and withdrawals by getting fit.

When it comes to quitting, take it one step at a time. These tips can get you started, but you can find more information, quizzes and resources in our free, downloadable booklet You Can Quit.