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.

“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
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 are developing 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 $35 for filling out a two-month follow-up survey

Learn More About Quit2Heal

Care team

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

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).  

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
Physician
Lung cancer early detection, pulmonary medicine

Tobacco cessation counselor

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.