1 IN 2

1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85.
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Quit smoking

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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 smoking.

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 people who quit at the age of 60 can reduce their chance of getting cancer and other diseases.

The best way to stop smoking is to:

  • Chat with Quitline: Quitline counsellors are experts in helping people break free from smoking. They will find quit strategies that work for you. Quitline counsellors can also support you if you are using e-cigarettes to stop smoking and can help you stop vaping.
  • Use stop-smoking medication: Stop-smoking medication, like the nicotine patch and gum, helps you manage symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Speak with your GP: Your GP can discuss your options and give you a script for cheaper stop smoking medication.

There are many ways to contact Quitline:

  • Call 13 7848 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm to speak with a Quitline counsellor
  • Text us on 0482 090 634
  • Chat online via webchat at quit.org.au
  • Message us on WhatsApp 61 385 832 920 or Facebook Messenger @quitvic
  • Or ask us to call you back for free at quit.org.au/callback

Other tools to help you quit

  • Visit the Quit website: Create your own quit plan with easy-to-find information suited to you. You’ll find tips, distractions, a tool that adds up the money you’ll save, and stories from people who have stopped smoking.
  • QuitTxt sends regular SMS messages to help you keep on track while you quit. To begin, all you need to do is answer a few questions at quit.org.au/quittxt
  • Sign up for QuitMail: Over 12 weeks we will send you regular emails tracking your health and money gains, plus lots of tips to help you stay quit.

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.

What about vaping?

Quitline counsellors can also support you if you are using e-cigarettes to stop smoking and can help you stop vaping. Read tips on quitting vaping

Concerned about a young person?

Find out about how e-cigarette products are harmful to health, and how to discuss the issue with young people in your life.

Visit Get the Facts on Vaping

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Questions about cancer?

Call or email our experienced cancer nurses for information and support.

Contact a cancer nurse