Health Services

Smart Tips - Tobacco Use

Cancer Prevention and
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Did you know that each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides and fires....combined.1

Ten years after quitting, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas also decreases.2

So what are you waiting for???


Lung Cancer is the #1 cancer killer for men and women in the United States and smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.1

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 440,000 deaths each year or about 1 in 5 deaths annually and resulting in an annual cost of more than $96 billion in medical costs, over $8 billion in New York State. 3,4

In addition to cancer, smoking harms our health in many other ways. Women who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease than men5. Smoking during pregnancy causes low birth weights, preterm deliveries, increased risk of miscarriages, sudden infant death syndrome, and is linked to childhood cancers. 6,7


  • If you smoke, quit. There is no time like the present. Make a commitment to take charge of your health and quit. See below for information on the:

    Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program!

  • If you do not smoke, don’t start. Encourage healthy behaviors in your children and set an example by not smoking.
Here’s how your body recovers once you quit.2

Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years:
  • 20 Minutes After Quitting. . .
    Your heart rate drops.
  • 12 Hours After Quitting. . .
    Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting. . .
    Your heart attack risk begins to drop.
    Your lung function begins to improve.
  • 1 to 9 Months After Quitting. . .
    Your coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
  • 1 Year After Quitting. . .
    Your added risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 Years After Quitting. . .
    Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
  • 10 Years After Quitting. . .
    Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s.
    Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 Years After Quitting. . .
    Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.

Resources to help you Quit

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program offers many services available to Suffolk County residents.

1. Smoking Cessation Programs: (631-853-4017)
This program provides behavior modification and supportive pharmaceuticals to medically eligible participants. We support them in discovering the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle. All groups and programs are supervised by a nurse practitioner and services are provided to residents at no cost, though medications recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be available for $50. Program participants also receive personalized follow-up. Classes are held during the day and in the evenings throughout the county. To help prevent relapse, monthly support groups are held in Eastern and Western Suffolk for those who have completed the program. Classes are held at businesses for employees and in county offices specifically for our employees.

For more information, call 631-853-4017 or visit the Department’s website.

2. School Based Programs: (631-853-3162)
Suffolk County offers presentations to high schools, and colleges, to tell the truth about tobacco and secondhand smoke.

3. Tobacco Control Laws: (631-853-3162)
Suffolk County is committed to strictly enforcing all state and local laws that apply to tobacco sales and use, including laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to youth under the age of 19. The Department also enforces the New York State and Suffolk County clean indoor air laws. To report violators of tobacco control laws, call 631-853-3162.

Resources for More Information


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Fact Sheet: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Updated May 2009.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Poster: "Within 20 minutes of quitting…" Updated May 2009. .

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Fact Sheet: Fast Facts. Updated May 2009.

4. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2009. "The Toll of Tobacco in New York". Accessed August 25, 2009.

5. Prescott, E, et al., 1998. "Smoking and risk of myocardial infarction in women and men: Longitudinal population study", British Medical Journal (BMJ) 316:1043-7, 1998. (as cited in "Women’s Health and Smoking".

6. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2009. Women’s Health and Smoking

7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.