Smoke from cigarettes, marijuana, or other drugs is a primary cause of cancer. Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more than 85% of lung cancers across Canada, and is either a direct cause or a contributing factor in many other cancers such as colorectal, cervical, breast, and prostate cancers. Although non-smokers can also develop cancers, preventing or quitting smoking is the single most important way to decrease your overall risk of cancer.
In the NWT, 53% of small community residents smoke whereas 29% in regional centers and 23% in Yellowknife are smokers. As well, 51% of Aboriginal people smoke while 18% of non-Aboriginal people report being smokers. However, people living in Yellowknife are more successful quitting smoking in their lifetime (44%) than are residents of smaller communities (27%).
Quitting smoking, even after a cancer diagnosis, can also slow cancer growth and improve your chances of recovery. In fact, quitting smoking may be equally beneficial—maybe more—to the patient’s recovery as chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Research shows that cancer is always more threatening to smokers than to non-smokers. Recovery after surgery is also more complicated for smokers than for non-smokers. Smoking cigarettes interferes with cancer treatments.
Quitting smoking can improve your health, no matter how much or for how long you have smoked. Quitting tobacco before the age of 40 will give you the greatest health benefits and reduce the chance of smoking-related death by 90%.
Please follow the links below for information about smoking and quitting.
To listen to the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of the NWT, Dr. Kami Kandola, speak about smoking and lung cancer, please click here.
For tips to quit smoking, click here.
Do you want help quitting smoking? Call the NWT Quitline at 1-866-286-5099. For more information, click here.
For resources by Lung Cancer Canada, click here.
For further information about leading a healthy lifestyle in the NWT, please visit www.choosenwt.com