CancerCare Manitoba
Tobacco Reduction


Limit or reduce your tobacco use as much as possible. If you use tobacco, consider a tobacco ban in your home and vehicle. If you use traditional tobacco for spiritual/cultural reasons, keep tobacco sacred.

Traditional tobacco has a spiritual meaning and is used in ceremonies, and is different from commercial tobacco. Commercial tobacco contains nicotine and other chemical additives.1 The harmful tobacco use we discuss here is recreational use of commercial tobacco.

Tobacco Use and Cancer

Tobacco use is the largest cause of cancer worldwide.2 Some of the more common forms of tobacco use are smoking cigarettes, cigars/cigarillos, pipes, hookah, but smokeless (non-combustible) tobacco use such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus also cause cancer. Smoking is the most common form of tobacco use in Manitoba. 19% of Manitobans smoke.3 Among Manitoba's grade 7 to 12 students, 12% currently smoke.4

Smoking rates are higher among on-reserve First Nations and Inuit people. 57% of First Nations adults living in First Nations communities smoke daily or occasionally.5 61% of Inuit adults use tobacco daily or occasionally.6

Smoking increases risk of 18 different types of cancer. Smoking is the cause of an estimated 30% of all cancer deaths.7 The association between smoking and lung cancer is the strongest.8 Smoking is responsible for more than 85% of lung cancers.7

Use of smokeless tobacco also increases risk of several cancers such as mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.

Exposure to second-hand smoke is also a known cause of several cancers and other health problems such as heart disease and stroke.9

Thirdhand smoke also causes health problems. Thirdhand smoke consists of residual nicotine and chemicals found on surfaces long after exposure to tobacco smoke, and is resistant to normal cleaning. Exposure to thirdhand smoke may increase risk of tobacco-related health problems, but because this is a relatively new area of research, the extent of its dangers are unknown. If you smoke, do so outside to maintain a smoke-free living space.10