The responsibility rests with patients to contact CANSA for assistance. Read more...

Choose Smoke-Free Lives


Lungs were made to breathe clean air, receiving oxygen from incoming air which enters the bloodstream, and allows carbon dioxide (a waste gas) to leave the blood. Unhealthy lungs are not able to do this well, causing poor health.

Tobacco smoking is the main cause for unhealthy lungs, lung cancer, and over 14 other types of cancer and 17 smoking related illnesses and non-communicable diseases.

The True Cost of Tobacco

Tobacco use destroys our environment adding unnecessary pressure to our planet’s already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems, through cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste.

CANSA urges everyone to consider quitting the use of tobacco in any form, to help lower cancer risk and aligns itself to the theme, ‘We Need Food Not Tobacco’ for World No Tobacco Day (31 May).

#WorldNoTobaccoDay #NoTobacco #CANSANoTobacco


CANSA supports the WHO’s efforts to create awareness around the negative consequences of tobacco farming and use of tobacco.

Government and policy makers are encouraged to motivate the advantages of substitution of tobacco with nutritious and sustainable alternative crops, making resources available to local tobacco farmers who wish to switch crops. Read more...

Media Release | Infographic 

Support the New Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill

Together with the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa and the South African Medical Research Council, CANSA continues campaigning for the new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill to be passed by Parliament, to make it easier for South Africans to choose smoke-free lives and put an end to the threat tobacco-use poses to the environment.

The new bill will soon be presented to Parliament to be passed to amend the existing Tobacco Control Law focussing on 100% smoke-free indoor areas; plain packaging and pictorial health warnings; banning adverts at tills in retail outlets and the sale of tobacco and related products in vending machines; and regulation of e-cigarettes. The new bill will further help decrease the impact of second-hand smoke on those not smoking and discourage youth from starting to smoke.

If you want to show your support by helping to get the new proposed South African Tobacco Bill (2018) passed, please contact Minenhle Dlamini,

Youth Targeted by Tobacco Companies

CANSA is concerned about the burden of tobacco in South Africa, and especially about the tactics adopted by the tobacco industry to target youth, in recent years.

The initial success of legislation of the past 20 years such as the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act No.12 (1999), hikes in excise duty on cigarettes, and health promotions to educate on risks of tobacco use initially led to a 30 % decrease in smoking among school learners. However, the figures show that smoking, especially among female learners is on the rise again.

After the decline in youth smoking, tobacco manufacturers realised that they would have to find new ways to attract youth to use their products, and engaged in systematic market research generating data on population trends, smoking patterns and attitudes towards smoking in this age group.

Research showed tobacco use was often initiated and established during adolescence and young adulthood (90% of smokers start the habit by age 18 and 99% start by age 26), so it made sense for them to target young people, who would then become addicted to their products and potentially hooked for life.

Tobacco manufacturers began to entice new users, mostly youth, to start and continue smoking, by making the experience more pleasant. By altering the taste, smell and other sensory attributes of products through adding chemical additives, they maximised the appeal of tobacco products in this age group.

Smoking is a concern among the youth in South Africa. Nearly 28% of learners Gr. 8-11 and mostly (over 80%) aged between 14-18 years admitted to having smoked in the 2011 South African Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.

Youth are led to believe that hookah smoking or using hubbly bubbly is not harmful and that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, but hookah use has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking and the safety of e-cigarettes has not yet been scientifically shown. Testing has highlighted that e-cigarettes vary widely in the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they deliver, and this is not communicated to buyers.

Nicotine exposure also negatively affects brain development in teens and young adults.

Tobacco Companies Target Youth

Tobacco Companies Target Youth

CANSA appeals to young people, to be aware of these tactics and understand that these alterations to products, while enhancing the experience, do nothing to reduce the long-term negative effects of smoking or the risk for several cancers.

“Tobacco is the only legally available consumer product which kills people when it is used entirely as intended.” (The Oxford Medical Companion – 1994)

Tobacco Use Puts You & Others at Risk

Would you knowingly put yourself or a loved one in harm’s way?

It’s not likely that you would and yet research shows that this is exactly what you do when you light up.

Smoking not only affects your health, but also those around you. Even when you have left the room and the smoke can no longer be seen, poisonous substances cling to surfaces that your loved ones may touch. Passive smoking (second hand smoking) and third hand smoke (residue that clings to surfaces) can negatively affect health too.

Here we share the facts with you in the hope that you will be motivated to quit the habit & to take charge of your health.

Reduce Your Cancer Risk:

1. Think Through Why Should You Quit

  • The global health burden caused by tobacco smoking is responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths. Tobacco-related diseases kill over 42 100 South Africans and 5.4 million people worldwide annually, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke…
  • Tobacco usage increases the risk of over 14 types of cancer: cancer of the lungs, renal pelvis, oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, oesophagus, larynx, nasal cavity and sinus, ureter, bladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach, colorectum, uterine cervix, breast, ovary and myeloid leukaemia. See latest fact sheets re these cancers…
  • Even if someone isn’t a smoker, second-hand smoke from people smoking around them can increase their risk for lung cancer.
  • Smoking during pregnancy and exposure to second-hand smoke are both linked to miscarriages, low birth weights and stillbirths. Babies who breathe in second-hand smoke have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • e-Cigarettes must be included when considering health risk of passive smoking (second hand smoke), because the use of these products leads to the emission of fine / ultrafine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into the air.
  • Tobacco smoking accounts for one in five cases of Tuberculosis (TB). Tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke can also trigger inactive TB infections. Those with active TB may risk disability or even death by smoking.
  • Smokers with HIV have three times the chance of getting TB compared to non-smokers with HIV.
  • It’s not only cigarettes that are harmful to health: hookah pipe (hubbly bubbly) smoking, cigars, pipes and tobacco products consumed orally or nasally (snuff, snus, chewing tobacco), also have a detrimental effect on health. Electronic cigarettes have not been scientifically proven to be safe either. CANSA funded a Masters student’s research project with young adults at the University of Cape Town, to explore knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and behaviour regarding e-cigarettes. Results supported the need for raising greater awareness around e-cigarettes, as well as the need for adequate regulation of these products. #CANSAResearch


Kick the Habit

Be Tobacco-Free & Healthy!

2. Decide to Quit:

Quitting tobacco use can have a positive effect on your health and lifestyle including:

  • reducing the risk of cancer and respiratory diseases
  • lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • breathing better and being able to walk without shortness of breath
  • having more physical energy
  • being a good role model for children & protecting them
  • living a longer and healthier life

Ten years after quitting smoking, personal cancer risk is half that of a smoker, and immediate health benefits may be experienced. Although e-cigarettes have been marketed as aids to help quit smoking, the evidence that they help is unsupported. In fact they may encourage more regular use of nicotine. They’re also more expensive than cigarettes, and smokers may return to cigarettes to save money.

Today is as good a time as any to make the choice to empower yourself and kick butt for a healthy and happy life. Decide to quit and set a quit date (start mentally preparing yourself to quit), making sure that you have a support system to help ensure you quit for good. See more tips below:

Quit Smoking

3. Stay Tobacco-Free:

You will need support to break you addiction. CANSA encourages smokers to #StartWhereYouAre:

  • Acknowledge that smoking is harmful to you
  • Decide to quit
  • Find support

View helpful tips from Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Programme – a CANSA Smart Choice. Those wanting to quit can subscribe to CANSA’s eKick Butt programme that provides a series of handy tools to help you quit through a series of emails. Or call the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) QUIT Line: 011 720 3145 or email: quit@iafrica.comfind additional support resources to help you quit for good here…

And if at first you don’t succeed, evaluate where you think things went wrong, put measures in place to prevent the same mistake into the future and most importantly, try, try and try again!

4. Play Your Part in Tobacco Control:

Support the New Bill

Non-smokers can scream at the top of their lungs for their right to a smoke free environment and good health encouraging smokers to quit and support the new draft Bill on Tobacco Control published for comment in May 2018 by the Minister of Health (Control of Tobacco Products & Electronic Delivery Systems, 2018) and soon to be passed by Parliament. The amendments include: 100% smoke free public places; standardised plain cigarette packaging with graphic health warnings; regulating electronic cigarettes as tobacco products; removal of cigarettes from view and from vending machines. #CANSAadvocacy

If you want to show your support by helping to get the new proposed South African Tobacco Bill (2018) passed, please contact Minenhle Dlamini,

Report Law Breakers

Employers should also know and abide by the law and protect employees’ health by ensuring clean air and a smoke-free work environment. Efforts should also be made to educate employees about the health risks.

Report smoking in non-smoking areas by lodging a complaint to the owner of the premises or reporting to the Environmental Health Office in your municipal area. After having done so, if you reach a bottle-neck, report this via email: including proof of having reported the complaint as indicated.

Has Cancer Touched Your Life?

Cancer affects one in four South Africans, through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self.

We want you to know that you are not alone and that we would like to support you and your loved ones, regardless of how cancer has touched your life.

Find info & online resources to help you fight cancer and please read more about CANSA’s Holistic Care & Support which is offered at our CANSA Care Centres countrywide.

Do you have a question?
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 072 197 9305 English and Afrikaans
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1931 - 2021. 90 Year Anniversary

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