Living Smoke-Free 

Woman relaxing on grass

Using tobacco products puts you at a much higher risk of developing cancer in your lifetime. More than 18 different types of cancer have been linked to tobacco use. It is never too late to quit smoking and benefit.

Second-Hand and Third-Hand Smoke

There is also a higher cancer risk for people who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Living smoke-free means quitting (or smoking cessation), as well as avoiding sources of second and third-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is the smoke that comes from a cigarette someone else is smoking, which can be harmful to those who breathe it in. Because it comes from the end of a lit cigarette, it burns at a lower temperature but can still leave toxins in the blood, urine, saliva or breast milk of a person who doesn’t smoke, even if it’s inhaled for a few minutes.

Third-hand smoke is what is left around you by tobacco smoke. It can be gases going back into the air and build-up on clothing, carpet and furniture surfaces, where it can linger for many months.

To live completely smoke-free, don’t smoke and also make sure your home and vehicles are all kept 100 per cent smoke-free. It`s also important to  avoid smoke-filled surroundings. No amount of second-hand smoke is safe. It’s never too late to take steps toward living smoke-free.

Have Cancer? Quit Smoking Now to Improve Your Treatment

If you smoke, you are among the one in five patients who come to cancer centres across Ontario and currently use or have recently used tobacco. Unfortunately, smoking can make your treatment less effective and increase its side effects.

You can reduce your risk of dying by 30 to 40 per cent if you quit smoking when you are diagnosed with cancer. Quitting also reduces the risk of your cancer returning or another type of cancer developing.

Twenty minutes after you quit smoking, you begin to reduce your risk of other diseases and conditions, as this timeline shows:

Smoking timeline

Learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking (or smoking cessation).

Living smoke-free helps people with cancer get the most out of their treatment. It is never too late to quit!

Let Us Help You Quit

It’s not easy but quitting smoking greatly reduces your risk for cancer. Fortunately, there are many support programs and resources to help you quit. Watch the Central Regional Cancer Program’s video on quitting smoking to help you along the path to living smoke-free.

Support Programs:

Local Health Unit Support –

If you are currently using tobacco products and ready to think about quitting, call your local health unit for free resources and information about workshops to help you quit.

Telehealth Ontario –

You can also contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 for support to quit smoking.

Community Pharmacies Counselling Program –

In Ontario, many community pharmacies offer a ‘smoking cessation’ counselling program to help you quit smoking and it’s covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit program. A pharmacist in your community is available to help you quit smoking.

View/download this Smoking Cessation Pharmacy Guide (in a PDF/Adobe Acrobat format) to find a pharmacy close to you that offers this counselling program.  Please contact the pharmacist first to find out when they are available.

Link to annual list of pharmacies in the Central LHIN that offer smoking cessation programs. (2018)
Annual list of pharmacies in your community that offer smoking cessation programs. (2019)

Online Resources:

Click the links below to access each resource to help you or a family member/friend quit smoking. (And if you don’t want to quit, check this booklet to learn why you might want to reconsider.)