Prevention Toolbox


Smoking Cessation Information for Healthcare Providers

Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person with cancer can do to help their cancer treatment work better.

Facts about Tobacco Use:

  • Tobacco use increases the risk of nearly 20 different types of cancer.
  • Tobacco use contributes to 30% of all cancer deaths and about 85% of lung cancer cases.
  • In Ontario, approximately 1 in 5 new cancer patients is a current or recent tobacco user.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking:

It is never too late for tobacco cessation to provide a benefit, and it is never too late for a person to quit.

Quitting smoking at the time of cancer diagnosis can lower the risk of dying by 30% to 40%. It also lowers the chance of the cancer returning or another type of cancer developing.

Quitting can also improve treatment outcomes:

  • Surgery: Patients who have quit smoking are less likely to have infections or complications during or after surgery.
  • Radiation Therapy: Smoking reduces the level of oxygen in blood, and radiation therapy works best when the amount of oxygen in the body is normal. Quitting can also help reduce side effects.
  • Chemotherapy: Cigarette smoke has chemicals that can lower the amount of some chemotherapy drugs in the blood, making them less effective.

For some cancer diagnoses, the benefit of quitting smoking may be equal to, or even exceed, the value of state-of-the-art cancer therapies.

Smoking Cessation in Regional Cancer Programs

Regional Cancer Programs across the province have implemented smoking cessation initiatives that use the  “3 As” framework developed by smoking cessation experts:

  • Ask - Talk to new patients about their tobacco use.
  • Advise - Inform them about the benefits of quitting smoking for their cancer treatment and outcomes.
  • Act - Refer them to smoking cessation services for support.

The Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre and Trillium Health Partners, Queensway Health Centre Oncology Clinic have a program in place to support current tobacco users and recent quitters as part of routine cancer care. For more information on this program contact a Mississauga Halton Central West Smoking Cessation Champion at

Helpful Links To Share with Patients:

Related Resources:

Aboriginal Tobacco Control Program
Program Training and Consultation Centre (PTCC)
Smokers’ Helpline
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer



In addition to breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer, your patients can now also assess their risk for kidney cancer and melanoma cancer at

Since the launch of My CancerIQ in early 2015, more than 146,000 Ontarians have learned about their cancer risk and how to lower it. It is more important than ever for Ontarians to think about reducing their risk of these cancers, as incidence rates for both are rising in Ontario. It is estimated that as many as half of all cancers in Ontario could be prevented by eliminating known risk factors. 

To reduce the risk of kidney cancer, Ontarians should maintain a healthy blood pressure and weight and avoid smoking. To reduce the risk of melanoma, Ontarians should enjoy the sun safely, avoid tanning equipment and know their skin so they can recognize changes or the need for a skin examination.
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