Prevention

Living Tobacco-Free Services

Deciding to quit tobacco is an important first step towards better health. But quitting for good can be hard without support.

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s (SCCA) Living Tobacco-Free Services, our experienced tobacco cessation (quitting) counselors first listen to understand the unique challenges you face when it comes to quitting. Then, we work with you to find the right combination of support and resources you need to achieve your goal.

We offer a variety of medications proven to help manage nicotine-withdrawal symptoms, as well as tools to manage stress, strategies to break the tobacco habit and information that can help you quit. 

We can meet with you in person or remotely, whichever you prefer. This service is provided to all current SCCA patients, caregivers and family members.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
“SCCA provides world-class cancer treatment, but there is still no more important decision for your health than quitting tobacco. But for many people, that's hard. I’m proud that we offer comprehensive tobacco cessation services to all SCCA patients and families.”
— Matthew A. Triplette, MD, MPH, Pulmonary Specialist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the link between tobacco use and cancer?

Smoking is the cause of more than 80 percent of lung cancers, and it increases the risk of more than a dozen other cancers, including cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (upper throat), nose and sinuses, esophagus (food pipe), liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bladder, cervix and bowel, as well as one type of ovarian cancer and some types of leukemia. There is also some evidence that smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer. Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer.

What are the benefits of quitting tobacco when you receive a cancer diagnosis?
  • A better chance of successful treatment
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced risk of secondary cancers
  • Easier breathing
  • Faster recovery from treatment
  • Fewer and less serious side effects from all types of cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy 
  • Longer survival
  • Lower risk of infection
  • More energy
Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.
How soon does your health improve after quitting?
  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
  • Eight hours later: Nicotine, carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood begin to return to normal.
  • Two days later: Your lungs start to clear, and your sense of taste and smell begin to return.
  • At three days: Breathing is easier, and your energy level increases.
  • Between two and 12 weeks: Your circulation improves, and exercise gets easier.
  • Between three and nine months: Breathing problems, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing improve.
  • At five years: Your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
  • At 10 years: Your risk for lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker. You have the same risk of a heart attack as someone who has never smoked.

What happens at your first appointment

At your appointment, you will meet with a tobacco cessation counselor. You will discuss your unique challenges to quitting tobacco, and your counselor will talk to you about resources available through Living Tobacco-Free Services, such as:

  • Nicotine-withdrawal medications. If you are interested in medications, we offer nicotine replacement therapy patches, gum and lozenges, and we can work together to find the ones that are best for you.
  • Stress management. If you smoke or use other types of tobacco to manage stress or deal with other emotional issues, we can offer alternate approaches that will preserve and improve your health. For example, we can suggest automated text reminders and online resources and classes designed to help you cope with stress. And we can discuss the possibility of talking with your provider about helpful medications and/or talk therapy. 
  • Creating new habits. We can help you design an individualized tobacco quit plan that considers your specific concerns, routines, triggers and time frame for quitting. We can help you find strategies and develop skills to break the tobacco habit, bounce back from a slip and become a comfortable and confident former tobacco user.  
  • Educational resources and materials. We can give you written educational materials about other resources for quitting tobacco. For example, we offer information about the benefits of stopping tobacco use when you receive a cancer diagnosis and during treatment.
“I cannot count the times that patients tell me that stopping tobacco use is one of the most meaningful things they have done in their lives. It’s difficult to do, yet so rewarding. Benefits are immediate and guaranteed.”
— Donna Manders, MPH, Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist

After your visit

After your initial appointment, you are welcome to contact us as often as you like to receive support for becoming tobacco-free. Our goal is to help you become a comfortable, confident nonsmoker in a time frame that works for you. 
 

SCCA Living Tobacco-Free Services

Join Quit2Heal

If you want to quit smoking, but don’t want to meet with an SCCA tobacco cessation counselor, you may be interested in Quit2Heal. Quit2Heal is a smoking cessation smartphone app that we have developed in partnership with Fred Hutch. Currently, we are recruiting study participants. The study is online and the app is free. If you join, you will receive:

  • Tools to cope with urges to smoke
  • A guide to quitting smoking
  • Help with staying motivated
  • Up to $210 for filling out three follow-up surveys and doing mailed saliva smoking status tests at 3, 6 and 12 months

Learn More About Quit2Heal

Care team

The Living Tobacco-Free Services team is made up of experts from a variety of specialties within SCCA. 

Smoking cessation To quit smoking. Counseling, behavior therapy, medicines and nicotine-containing products, such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays, can all help a person quit smoking. To quit smoking. Smoking cessation lowers the risk of cancer and other serious health problems. Counseling, behavior therapy, medicines and nicotine-containing products, such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays, can all help a person quit smoking.
Pulmonologist

A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in preventing and treating lung cancer and other respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called COPD. A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, in which the bronchi (large air passages) are inflamed and scarred, and emphysema, in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called COPD. Pulmonologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs.
Tobacco cessation counselor

Tobacco cessation counselors are professionals with the skills, knowledge and training to provide effective, evidence-based support for tobacco dependence. They are experts at helping patients, caregivers and family members develop personalized quit plans to reach their tobacco-free goals. 

Matthew  Triplette, MD, MPH
Matthew Triplette, MD, MPH
Physician
Pulmonology

Tobacco cessation counselor

Donna Manders, MPH, CTTS
Donna Manders, MPH, CTTS

Donna Manders has served as a tobacco treatment specialist at SCCA since 2008. She works in collaboration with patients, caregivers and family members to develop evidence-based, personalized treatment plans in a warm, confidential and non-judgmental setting. Donna has a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington and is a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist trained at Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and certified by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.