Healthy Choices

Cessation Tips from Former Smokers

“We did it. You can, too!” Three former smokers share tips that helped them quit in this video.external icon For more help quitting, visit icon

You can lower your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like–

Avoiding Tobacco

Cigarette Smoking

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes almost all cases. Compared to nonsmokers, current smokers are about 25 times more likely to die from lung cancer. Smoking causes about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Smoking also causes cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, voicebox (larynx), trachea, bronchus, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervix, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.1 2

Visit smokefree.govexternal icon to learn how you can quit smoking.

Secondhand Smoke

Adults who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30%. Concentrations of many cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers.3

Learn more about tobacco and cancer.

Protecting Your Skin

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds appears to be the most important environmental factor involved with developing skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer while still having fun outdoors, protect yourself by seeking shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

Learn more about lowering your risk for skin cancer.

Limiting Alcohol Intake

Studies around the world have shown that drinking alcoholexternal icon regularly increases the risk of getting mouth, voice box, and throat cancers.

A large number of studies provide strong evidence that drinking alcohol is a risk factor for primary liver cancer, and more than 100 studies have found an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake. The link between alcohol consumption and colorectal (colon) cancer has been reported in more than 50 studies.4

Learn more about alcohol and cancer.

Keeping a Healthy Weight

Research has shown that being overweight or having obesity raises a person’s risk of getting some cancers, including endometrial (uterine), breast in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancers. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.5 Learn how to choose a healthy diet at Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight, and read about exercise at Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight.

Learn more about obesity and cancer.

Getting Tested for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common type of viral hepatitis is Hepatitis C. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. CDC recommends that most adults get tested for Hepatitis C.


1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014. pdf icon[PDF-35.9MB]external icon

2International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans: Volume 100E: Personal Habits and Indoor Combustions. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2012.

3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General—6 Major Conclusions of the Surgeon General Report. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.

4Baan R, Straif K, Grosse Y, Secretan B, El Ghissassi F, Bouvard V, Altieri A, Cogliano V; WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages. Lancet Oncology 2007;8:292–293.

5National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.

CDC scientists and other experts explored ways to lower cancer risk at different ages: early childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, midlife, and older adulthood.

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