No Smoker Left Behind
Quitting or reducing smoking is the most important lifestyle change you can make to help improve your health during and after cancer treatment.
If you are a head and neck cancer or lung cancer patient and are listed as a smoker in your medical record, you will be automatically contacted by No Smoker Left Behind to offer you options to quit or reduce smoking. The program will be expanded to all cancer patients by late 2019.
What to Expect from the Program
Once enrolled, you will receive automated calls to connect you to evidence-based treatments.
You will receive a 5-minute interactive voice recorded call from Dr. Andrea King, UChicago Medicine smoking-cessation expert.
In this call, you will:
- Answer a few questions about your smoking behaviors
- Learn about the treatment options available to help you quit or reduce smoking
- Select an option that fits your needs (or you can opt out of the program)
- Connect to your selected treatment options
- Receive follow-up calls from the program to track your progress
There is no cost to participate in this program.
On-site at UChicago Medicine (often covered by insurance):
- Individual counseling to help you quit or reduce smoking with our dedicated specialist, Anne Roupas, LCSW
- Group-based counseling through the Courage to Quit® program led by Dr. Andrea King and her team of experts
- Medications to help you quit or reduce smoking, prescribed by your healthcare team
Phone-based and no cost treatment options:
- Illinois Tobacco Quitline offers free phone-based counseling and nicotine replacement patches
- A free text-messaging program sponsored by SmokeFree.gov and the National Cancer Institute to help you quit or reduce smoking
Benefits of quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis include:
- Longer life span
- Faster recovery and fewer/less serious side effects from treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Reduced risk of:
- Secondary cancers
- Heart or lung disease
- Easier breathing and more energy
- Money saved by no longer buying cigarettes
- Improved quality of life
No Smoker Left Behind is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.
Myths about Smoking & Quitting
FACT: It is never too late to quit smoking. People who quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis live longer, have a better chance of successful treatment, have fewer side effects from treatment, recover faster and have a better quality of life. No Smoker Left Behind can help.
FACT: The calming effect you feel when you smoke is actually the relief of nicotine withdrawal, which can begin just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Using approved medications can help reduce withdrawal symptoms in a safe way. We can help you overcome tobacco addiction and the health benefits of quitting greatly outweigh the temporary discomfort. Former smokers are less stressed than current smokers.
FACT: Smoking is an addiction. While some people are able to quit on their own, most people are more successful when they have the help of clinicians, family and friends. No Smoker Left Behind will connect you with tools to improve your chances of quitting.
FACT: Quitting smoking is hard and often requires several attempts until a person is permanently tobacco-free. Research has proven that counseling and medications improve the odds for the long term. There are several medications that can help you deal with nicotine withdrawal. Ask your health care team for help.
FACT: Quitting smoking is the most important lifestyle change you can make to help you fight cancer. Research has proven that cancer patients and survivors who smoke are at higher risk of cancer coming back, getting a second cancer and death.
Meet Our No Smoker Left Behind Team
Meet Our Tobacco Treatment Specialists
Anne Roupas, LCSW, CADC Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Denise Rouse, MS, PA-C
How did a 77-year old woman who smoked for 60 years, quit smoking?
Mary Baim, a smoker for 60 years, didn't think she could stop. Then she joined UChicago Medicine's Courage to Quit program, and hasn't had a cigarette in more than a year.Read Baim's story