It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. But if you have cancer, smoking is even more damaging. This is because treatment can make you more likely to get infections or breathing difficulties. Help is available if you want to quit smoking.

Smoking Cigarettes and Chemotherapy

Cigarette smoke contains lots of chemicals. These chemicals can reduce the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs.

People who smoke also report higher levels of side effects during treatment.

Talk to your medical team if you would like support to stop smoking.

Smoking Cigarettes and Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy works best when oxygen levels in your body are normal. This is because oxygen is needed for radiotherapy to generate the molecules that kill cancer cells.

The problem is, smoking lowers oxygen levels in your blood. This can make it harder for the treatment to do its job.

Quitting Smoking

Stopping smoking can help you recover from cancer more quickly. It can also mean you have fewer or less serious side effects. As well as the obvious health benefits, cutting down or quitting could save you money. Plus, you’ll also be helping the environment as forests are cut down in the tobacco farming process.

We know it’s tough to stop smoking but there is support if you’re ready to give it a try. Be honest with your medical team. They can give you advice and guidance.


Beliefs vary on whether vaping is better for you than smoking. So far, no scientific study has proven vaping has the same life-threatening consequences.

But no one is sure of the long-term effects. There’s simply not enough data to properly research it. It’s important to talk to your medical team about vaping, especially if you’re going through treatment.

Published May 2023
Next review 2027

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