Smoking After Cancer … Would You?

“I have never operated on a smoker. It is so disheartening to me to have someone actively hurting themselves when I’m trying to help them. It means they’re not committed to the process.”  

–Dr. Mehmet Oz, noted cardiac surgeon

If you had cancer, wouldn't you quit?

Have you tried to quit smoking with no success? Perhaps you think that, despite news reports to the contrary, you don’t feel like smoking hurts you that much.

A new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention makes us think that perhaps this feeling of denial runs deeper than we previously thought. Researchers estimate that 1/3 of the people who were smokers quit when they were diagnosed with cancer, while 2/3 of the patients continued for some time. One in ten long-term cancer survivors continue to smoke.

Shockingly, these rates are especially high among those who been diagnosed with cancer strongly linked to smoking (such as bladder and lung cancer). Truly, it is very difficult for some to quit – even when they face extreme health consequences.

Who Really is Still Smoking?

What type of smoker continues the habit long-term after a cancer diagnosis? Those who smoked seemed to be serious about it:  83% smoked every day, burning nearly 15 cigarettes per day on average. Sadly, smoking does more damage than many smoking cancer patients understand.  It raises the risk of cancer recurrence, but also makes certain therapies less effective.  It can also interfere with healing after surgery.

Lee Westmaas, an American Cancer Society researcher, states that counseling, medication, and other means can help those who want to quit, but many do not know about these methods, or may not have access to them.

Do these smokers who continue for years after their diagnosis do so flippantly?  According to the study, almost half of these smokers are trying to quit, and only 10% actually plan to continue smoking. Westmass comments, “It seems like a lot of them do want to quit.  But we think that the level of addiction they have and the lack of knowledge about available treatments is another issue.”

If You Need to Quit

In Philadelphia, nobody has to go the course alone.  Take a step now to a better, healthier tomorrow… call 1-800 QUIT-NOW or get support and find a FREE local quit coach online.   We wish you the very best health!


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