Statistics show that smoking leads to 480,000 deaths each year. 36 percent of the deaths are from cancer. You may think that if your older family member has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s too late for them to quit smoking. The damage has already been done. However, research shows that even after a cancer diagnosis, it’s not too late to quit. That’s because quitting smoking can increase their chances of survival.

Tobacco Treatment May Help Smokers with Cancer Quit

When people quit smoking, it helps their body to heal better, which could improve cancer treatment. In fact, quitting can increase their chances of survival by up to 40 percent. In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers found that participants who used a comprehensive smoking cessation program that was tailored to the individuals had a 46 percent chance of quitting in comparison to other smoking cessation programs that had only a 20 percent success rate.

The program used by the participants included:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Non-nicotine medications.
  • A combination of nicotine replacement and non-nicotine medications tailored to the individual’s needs.
  • Behavioral counseling.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers suggest that smoking cessation should be part of cancer treatment.

Tips for Quitting Smoking

If your older family member is fighting cancer and needs to stop smoking, they should first talk to their doctor about quitting. The doctor can suggest smoking cessation techniques or programs. In addition to following the doctor’s recommendations, some other tips that may help are:

  • Support System: The senior is going to need support from the people around them. Make sure all family caregivers are on board with the senior quitting. Be prepared to offer distractions and encouragement on the days when quitting is hard. You may also want to help the older adult find a support group for people who are quitting.
  • Know and Avoid Triggers: Ask your aging relative when they normally smoked. Certain things may trigger the senior to smoke, like playing cards with friends or having a beer. While it might be impossible to avoid all the triggers, you can try to avoid some of them and offer support in situations that could trigger the urge to smoke.
  • Devise Rewards: Have a reward system in place for when the older adult reaches goals. For example, you might offer to take them out to lunch when they manage not to smoke for a certain number of days.

Home care can be part of your aging relative’s support system while they try to quit smoking, too. Be sure to let the home care provider know the senior is trying to quit and what the treatment plan is. The home care provider can help your loved one stick to the plan by reminding them to take medications or other techniques. Home care providers can also come up with activities to distract the senior when they feel like smoking, such as going for a walk, doing a puzzle together, or playing a game.


When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.