Let’s talk about cancer prevention… and smoking or vaping

by Celeste Buckingham 08 Sep 2020

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer, accounting for 13 per cent of cancer cases and 20 per cent of cancer deaths per year, yet more than 10 per cent of Australians smoke daily. Fortunately, as soon as a person quits smoking, there are immediate and long term health benefits and reduced early mortality.


Here’s what we know:

  1. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, over 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Every cigarette you smoke is doing you damage.
  2. Smoking causes 16 different types of cancer including lung, mouth, throat, nose, stomach, liver and bowel.
  3. Smoking just 10 cigarettes per day doubles your risk of dying. Current smokers are estimated to die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers.
  4. In Australia, it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. Nevertheless, the ones currently on the market may contain toxic, carcinogenic flavouring chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein. As e-cigarettes are relatively new, there is not enough data available to determine the long-term health effects.
  5. Current research indicates that use of e-cigarettes leads to smoking tobacco cigarettes in young people.



  • It is never too late to quit. Just six hours after the last cigarette, the body is already starting to repair itself, and 12 hours after stopping almost all nicotine is out of your system.
  • Research shows many different approaches to quitting can be successful. Some approaches to try including cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapy, prescription drugs and alternative therapies. Find out more about quitting smoking.


Read more about Can Too’s investment in lung cancer research and research into quit-smoking programs for Indigenous women

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