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CANSA Highlights

CANSA Offers Support to Smokers during Lockdown and Beyond

25 May 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent national lockdown and ban on the sale of tobacco products may have forced many smokers to stop smoking. Having to quit in this way may be challenging on so many levels. It could cause intense withdrawal and cravings, which could lead to widespread anxiety. As part of World No Tobacco Day (31 May), CANSA offers support to these smokers and also to others who have embraced the opportunity to quit smoking and are looking for coping tips.

Lorraine Govender, CANSA’s National Advocacy Co-Ordinator reports, “In South Africa more than 42 100 people die of tobacco related deaths annually, and tobacco use is linked to over 20 types of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease. These underlying conditions caused by tobacco use put smokers at higher risk for severe complications due to COVID-19. Tobacco smoking may also spread the virus more rapidly as the act of smoking means that fingers are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth, if cigarettes are contaminated or fingers were exposed to the virus. Additionally, smoking water pipes often involves sharing mouth pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings. The ban on the sale of tobacco products intended to improve COVID 19 outcomes, while not sensitive to the needs of those addicted to tobacco and forcing many to go cold-turkey, may have provided the incentive for others to quit the smoking habit for good. CANSA is able to offer support to those that have opted to try and quit smoking through our eKickbutt programme and through the promotion of our Seal of Recognition partner, Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking programme.”

Dr Charles Nel, Head of Allen Carr SA, elaborates, “Allen Carr’s Easyway programme works by correctly activating the addict’s inborn mental capability of effectively modifying any behaviour. This activation is achieved by destroying the addict’s belief that they are dependent on the drug which is the root cause of the addiction. The result is the desire to smoke disappears and the main problem, the mental addiction, is cured. Easyway Clinics are no longer able to be offered at venues because of the Covid-19 crisis. Fortunately, they are now available as Live Online Groups Seminars, throughout SA to any smoker that has an acceptable internet connection.”

“It’s the fear of stopping that prevents smokers from succeeding. Give us a proper opportunity to remove that fear and you will stop. If you do not, we will refund your fee. Visit or call 0861 100 200 and watch out for our webinar for World No Tobacco Day,” Nel concludes.

Additional Resources

Govender adds, “We’d like to encourage those who have decided to quit and remind those who are struggling with withdrawal, that the health benefits of quitting are almost immediate and that 10 years after quitting, personal cancer risk is half that of a smoker. If you or a family member is struggling to quit, please reach out to one of our partners for support today. We also urge young people not to be taken in by clever marketing tactics of the tobacco industry, which makes tobacco use seem attractive, and never to start the cycle of addiction.”

  • The National Council against Smoking runs a telephone counselling Quit line on 011 720 3145 and can support smokers who want to give up by sending daily messages for 30 days on Whatsapp, to motivate you to stay away from cigarettes and manage the symptoms of withdrawal that may come with quitting.
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation has professional staff that can provide educational support during the challenging time you may face when trying to quit tobacco smoking. During the period of the lockdown you may call 084 250 7374 for assistance.

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)


CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 12 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Queries CANSA

Visit or contact the nearest CANSA Care Centre, call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: In addition to online resources and Facebook support groups, CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 for English and Afrikaans and 071 867 3530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati. Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (, join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa and follow CANSA on Instagram: @cancerassociationofsouthafrica and LinkedIn.


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