chris geiger

The Cancer Survivors Club

How to quit smoking

The best way for smokers to reduce their risk of cancer is to give up smoking completely. It takes time to see the benefit but giving up smoking saves lives.

Thanks to new policies and improved public awareness of the benefits of quitting, the proportion of smokers has halved in the last 50 years. Because of this, the rate of people dying from lung cancer has been decreasing steadily since the 1980s.

There is still a long way to go. 1 in 5 people still smoke and smoking-related diseases kill over 100,000 people in the UK alone every year.

If you are a smoker, giving up smoking is the best gift you can give yourself, your friends and family. Quitting greatly reduces the risk of smoking-related cancers, as well as other diseases such as heart and lung disease, compared to continuing to smoke. The earlier you give up, the better. But equally it is never too late to gain valuable years of life by giving up smoking.

Most smokers say that they would like to give up if they could. But stopping isn't always simple

How do I get help to quit?

Quitting smoking can be hard, but free services and treatments are available to help and these have been shown to improve the chances of quitting successfully. Smokers are much more likely to quit successfully if they get professional support than if they try to go "cold-turkey".

NHS Smokefree has a range of services on offer to help keep you on track, including:

•Stop smoking groups

•One to one counselling

•Prescription medication to help you control the withdrawal symptoms

•Free email and text support programmes

•Free app for smartphones.

NHS Smokefree helps thousands of people quit smoking every year, so if you are looking to go smokefree, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, visit NHS Smokefree or call the NHS Smokefree Helpline to find your way out of smoking:

 •England: 0800 022 4 332

•Wales: 0800 169 0 169

•Scotland: 0800 84 84 84

•Northern Ireland: 0808 812 8008

•Isle of Man: 01624 642 404

Is it safe to smoke now and again?

You are increasing your cancer risk even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day. Light or social smoking can still harm your health. Studies have shown that even people who smoke on average 1-4 cigarettes a day are still more likely to die early than non-smokers. The risk is increased even if you don’t smoke every day, smoking 20 cigarettes in a week is an average of nearly 3 cigarettes a day.

Research has shown that trying just 1 cigarette can make children more likely to start smoking several years later. More than 80% of smokers start by the age of 19.

Is it better to smoke filter or ‘low tar’ cigarettes?

Smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers, whatever type of cigarette they smoke.

Filters and low-tar cigarettes make little difference – your lung cancer risk is not lower. This may be because smokers tend to change the way they smoke in order to satisfy their nicotine craving, for example by taking bigger puffs or smoking more cigarettes.

What influences the risk of cancer from smoking?

The more cigarettes you smoke a day, the higher your risk of cancer. If you aren’t able to quit completely, cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke a day can be a good first step.

Scientists have found that the number of years you spend smoking affects your cancer risk even more strongly than the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. For example, smoking one pack a day for 40 years is more dangerous than smoking two packs a day for 20 years.

The serious damaging effects of smoking cannot be cancelled out by leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily. The best way to reduce your risk is to give up smoking completely.


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Useful Links


Passive smoking

Passive smoking can increase a non-smoker's risk of getting lung cancer by a quarter, and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx and pharynx. Read more --->>>


A range of alternatives to smoking are becoming increasingly popular. Read more --->>>

Smoking causes cancer

The links between smoking and cancer are now very clear. Smoking accounts for more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases.  Read more --->>>

Support Forums

Online Forums are a great way to connect with others touched by cancer. They enable users to search then communicate privately with other members, based on their type of cancer, age and location.


How to check for cancer

Knowing what’s normal for your body means you’re more likely to recognise something different. Spotting cancer at an early stage can save lives.  Read more --->>>


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Writing for Survivors

Writing for cancer survivors - If you or any member of your family has been touched by cancer, we’d love to hear from you.

If you or any member of your family has been touched by cancer, Chris would love to hear from you.

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Submitting your story

Any story relating to cancer from anyone’s perspective can be submitted. However all stories must be true and make a positive impact.

Any story relating to cancer from anyone’s perspective can be submitted. However all stories must be true and make a positive impact.

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