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Cancer. 2003 Dec 1;98(11):2495-501.

Change in smoking status after spiral chest computed tomography scan screening.

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Nicotine Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



Cancer screening may provide a "teachable moment" for the reduction of high-risk behaviors. The current study evaluated smoking behavior changes in current and former smokers after low-dose, fast spiral chest computed tomography scan (CT) screening for lung carcinoma.


The study was comprised of 901 current smokers and 574 former smokers who participated in a low-dose, fast spiral chest CT scan screening study for lung carcinoma. Demographic, pulmonary function, screening recommendations, and smoking history variables were evaluated as predictors of self-reported point prevalence smoking abstinence 1 year after screening.


Of the current smokers at baseline, 14% reported smoking abstinence at follow-up. Older age and poorer lung function were associated with smoking abstinence. Ninety percent of former smokers reported smoking abstinence at a 1-year of follow-up. A longer duration of smoking abstinence at baseline was found to be predictive of abstinence in this group.


The 14% smoking abstinence rate was higher than would be expected for spontaneous rates of smoking cessation. Therefore, screening may provide a teachable moment for smokers. Low-dose, fast spiral chest CT scan screening recommendations were not found to be associated with smoking behavior change in either group. Further research is needed to evaluate the potential avenues through which lung carcinoma screening can be used as an opportunity for providing effective nicotine interventions.

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