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Tobacco cessation

Tobacco use – whether it is smoked, chewed or inhaled – can lead to serious health problems. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and the leading cause of cancer. Smoking is also associated with poor outcomes for those with cancer.

Quitting tobacco can be difficult, but the most successful approach is a combination of getting counseling support from those who specialize in tobacco treatment and taking medication.

At VCU Massey Cancer Center, our ICAN (Initiative to Conquer the Addiction to Nicotine) Quit tobacco cessation program can connect you to the information and tools you need to become tobacco-free. We understand the challenge of wanting to quit and stay tobacco-free while at the same time dealing with a cancer diagnosis, treatment and the fear of the possibility of the cancer coming back. If you or someone in your family is interested in quitting tobacco, please tell your Massey nurse, doctor or other health care provider, and they will connect you to the ICAN Quit program.

Visit the links at the left for more information about reasons to quit, assessing your readiness to quit, tips for quitting, managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, how to live smoke-free and facts about e-cigarettes.

About the ICAN QUIT program

The ICAN (Initiative to Conquer the Addiction to Nicotine) Quit program is supported by a supplement that VCU Massey Cancer Center received in 2018 to its Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop, implement and evaluate a tobacco cessation program for our cancer patients. The program is led by principal investigators Darlene Brunzell, Ph.D., co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Massey, and Rashelle Hayes, Ph.D., M.S., member of Massey’s Cancer Prevention and Control program.

The supplement was provided through the NCI’s Cancer Center Cessation Initiative as part of the NCI Cancer Moonshot℠ program. The NCI Cancer Center Cessation Initiative is a national effort to help people who are undergoing treatment for cancer to quit smoking. The initiative is designed to use implementation science to jump-start smoking cessation treatment at NCI-designated cancer centers, with findings used to develop best practices and shared with clinical cancer facilities nationwide.

Additional resources

In addition to services provided by the Massey ICAN Quit program, the following external resources are available to help with tobacco cessation.

  • Quit Now Virginia provides free information and coaching by telephone or online to Virginia residents who want to quit smoking or using tobacco. Trained quit counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Services are available in English and Spanish.
  • Smokefree.gov is a web resource for learning more about the quit process and getting resources to help, including advice and support via text messages through SmokefreeTXT. Text CRAVE, MOOD, or SLIP to 47848 to receive 3-5 messages/tips/advice/motivational statements per day for 6-8 weeks.
  • QuitGuide is a free app that helps you understand your smoking patterns and build the skills needed to become and stay smoke-free.
  • QuitSTART is a free smartphone app that can help you track your cravings and moods, monitor your progress toward achieving smoke-free milestones, identify your smoking triggers and upload personalized “pick-me-ups” and reminders to use during challenging times to help you successfully become and stay smoke-free.
  • BecomeAnEX.org provides a quit plan based on experiences from ex-smokers as well as blogs, community forums, ask the experts and many other features.
  • Freedom from Smoking by the American Lung Association is a proven way to quit smoking – and stay quit – even if you’ve tried before and went back to smoking. Get educational pamphlets, complete an online course, talk to a telephone counselor or find a local in-person counselor here.
  • The National Cancer Institute offers an online booklet, “Clearing The Air: Quit Smoking Today” that is designed to provide support at any stage of quitting.
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology offers an online booklet of information to empower cancer patients to talk with their cancer care team about quitting tobacco.