Quit smoking

A woman in the shade of a tree  
About 1 in 8 cancer deaths in Australia can be attributed to smoking. More than 15,000 Australians are diagnosed with a smoking-related cancer each year.

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer caused by smoking – more than 80% of lung cancer cases are caused by it.

Smoking also causes cancer of the voice box, throat, bladder, mouth, tongue, nose, nasal sinus, oesophagusovarycervix, ureter, bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia), pancreasstomachliver and bowel.

How does smoking cause cancer?

Smoke contains over 70 chemicals known to cause cancer. Certain chemicals in tobacco smoke damage an important gene called p53. The p53 gene is found in the nucleus of every cell in the human body, and its main role is to prevent cancer cells evolving. Cigarette smoke is the main cause of p53 mutations in lung cancer.


The good news is that it's never too late to stop smoking. The younger you are, and the sooner you stop, the better. Even smokers who quit at the age of 60 can reduce their chance of getting cancer and other diseases.

Call the Quitline 13 7848

Quit specialists offer help with quitting for the cost of a local call (except mobiles). Your trained Quit specialist knows how tough quitting can be and will give you reliable information and support. You can also arrange to have a Quit specialist call you. Ask for a free Quit pack to be mailed to you.

Visit the Quit website for tips and information to help you quit smoking.

Join the QuitCoach: QuitCoach asks you questions and uses your answers to give advice that's suited to you. Each time you visit the site, QuitCoach gives you more advice based on any changes you've made.

Avoid secondhand smoke

Even if you don’t smoke, breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke can increase your risk of cancer. Make sure that you and your family are smokefree.


  • Be a smokefree role model for others.
  • Tell people if their smoke bothers you.
  • Make your home and car smokefree.
  • Choose venues with a smokefree outdoor area.

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Updated: 08 Jul, 2016