February 23, 2024

Long-Term Smoking Cessation Lowers Cancer Risk

Written by: Omnia Tantawi, MSc


Smoking is known to be linked to various types of cancer, and smoking cessation can help reduce one’s risk1, but it was unclear how long staying off cigarettes could lead to substantial risk reduction. A study reported here has found that people who continue smoking cessation for a decade are less likely to develop cancer. After 15 years of quitting, the risk of cancer is reduced by about 50% compared to those who continue to smoke. Even those who relapsed or quit temporarily saw lower risks of developing cancer in the lung, liver, stomach, and colorectal areas.

People are becoming more aware of smoking’s impacts on health and are trying to veer away from cigarettes. From cancer and heart disease to lesser-known impacts like vision and skin issues, smoking can significantly damage your well-being.2 Our post highlights that smoking is also a factor in osteoporosis. This research presents more evidence of the benefits of smoking cessation, but quitting smoking is often a challenge for many smokers. Withdrawal symptoms, cravings, stress, and other factors can make it difficult to quit. Here’s how to quit to reduce your risk:

Smoking Cessation Tips

Consider Smokeless Alternatives

Chemicals found in tobacco, like benzene and carbon monoxide, are inhaled when you smoke. These chemicals bind to the DNA in your cells, causing cancer.3 Tobacco-free, smokeless alternatives provide a reduced-risk method of delivering nicotine and help reduce cravings. Nicotine pouches4, which you can read more about here, are among the most popular smokeless alternatives on the market. There are diverse flavors, from standard ones like wintergreen and citrus to more exotic ones like cinnamon and coffee. They also come in varying nicotine strengths from as low as 2mg up to 30mg to cater to individual preferences and experience levels.

Other alternatives, like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)5 products, aid in managing cravings and are approved for smoking cessation. Nicotine gum has long been a popular NRT product and comes in varying flavors and strengths; click here to read about its market size and growth trajectory. You can start with a higher dose and lower it gradually over a few weeks to lower nicotine dependence.

Use Smoking Cessation Apps

Mobile apps can provide smokers with smoking cessation tips and track progress.6 They offer easy access to quitting resources and support, allowing smokers to stay motivated to stay off cigarettes continuously and reduce cancer risks. Apps like Kwit enable smokers to see how much money they saved, cigarettes not smoked, and life expectancy gained since they began the quitting journey, increasing motivation. It also offers coping strategies for cravings and helps smokers understand their dependence.

Other apps like Quit Sense take a novel approach to maintaining smoking cessation. This report notes that it uses artificial intelligence and location-sensing technology to notify smokers when they’re in an area they have previously smoked in. The app will provide personalized and specific tips for managing smoking triggers to help smokers overcome their urges.

Stay Busy

Being occupied with other tasks and hobbies can help take your mind off cigarettes. Staying busy enables you to redirect the time and energy you would have spent on smoking to something more fulfilling and productive.7 Exercising can distract you from cravings, and it can further aid in reducing your risk of cancer and other chronic health issues.8 Exercising for 30 minutes a day or doing something active when you’re craving a smoke can help with smoking cessation.

You can also practice hobbies that occupy the hands or mind, such as painting, crocheting, journaling, and more. They can help relieve stress, which is a common trigger for smoking, and provide an emotional release for feelings you may be facing during your quitting journey.9

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s worth it to help you reduce your risk of cancer.10The longer you go without smoking, the more your health improves.

For more on health tips and news, visit our website.



1. Choi S, Chang J, Kim K, Park SM, Lee K. Effect of Smoking Cessation and Reduction on the Risk of Cancer in Korean Men: A Population Based Study. Cancer Res Treat. 2018;50(4):1114-1120. doi:10.4143/crt.2017.326.

2. CDC. Health effects of cigarette smoking. Accessed from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm on 23-Feb-2024.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US); Office on Smoking and Health (US). How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2010. 5, Cancer. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53010/.

4. Patwardhan S, Fagerström K. The New Nicotine Pouch Category: A Tobacco Harm Reduction Tool?. Nicotine Tob Res. 2022;24(4):623-625. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntab198.

5. American Cancer Society. Nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking. Accessed from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/risk-prevention/tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking/nicotine-replacement-therapy.html#:~:text=Nicotine%20replacement%20therapy%20(NRT)%20gives,(emotional)%20aspects%20of%20quitting. On 23-Feb-2024.

6. Danielle A. Becker (2023) Six Smoking Cessation Mobile Apps Reviewed, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 20:2-3, 79-83, doi: 10.1080/15424065.2023.2242237.

7. NHS. Quit Smoking. Accessed from: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ on 23-Feb-2024.

8. Ussher MH, Faulkner GEJ, Angus K, Hartmann-Boyce J, Taylor AH. Exercise interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;2019(10):CD002295. Published 2019 Oct 30. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002295.pub6.

9. American Heart Association. Five tips to quit smoking and vaping. Accessed from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking-tobacco/5-steps-to-quit-smoking on 23-Feb-2024.

10. NCI. Cigarette Smoking. Accessed from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/quit-smoking-pdq on 23-feb-2024.


Article written by Omnia Tantawi, MSc
Omnia is an Assistant Lecturer and Medical Researcher from Egypt. She’s an integral part in many research projects that proved promising in revolutionizing the future of Medicine. As a Research Scholar, she’s particularly interested in Personalized & Molecular Medicine because she believes that this is the prospect of the healthcare industry and can be applied to all medical and pharmaceutical specializations. But at heart she remains a wordsmith, so she currently works as a Medical Writer. This transition was fairly easy with an Academic Medical background, ability to adapt to different audiences and passion for research and creation. She always takes the most complex or mundane topics and turn it into a must-read with an unparalleled style. In her free time, she likes to read books, tunes in Netflix or enjoys the outdoors.

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