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Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Mar;89(3):926-30; discussion 930. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2009.12.046.

A thoracic surgeon-directed tobacco cessation intervention.

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Department of Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0679, USA.



Thoracic surgeons receive little training in promoting tobacco cessation despite the impact of tobacco use on their patients. There are only a few prospective reports of tobacco cessation efforts involving thoracic surgeons in the scientific literature. The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate a brief tobacco cessation intervention offered by surgeons in an outpatient thoracic surgery clinic.


Adult smokers from a single-institution thoracic surgery clinic were enrolled in a single-arm prospective pilot trial between January and December 2008. Patients received a 10-minute intervention including discussing their motivation for quitting, offering tobacco cessation medication, and promoting a free telephone quitline. The primary outcome was abstinence at 3 months. Univariate logistic regression identified factors associated with tobacco cessation.


Forty of 60 eligible smokers enrolled in the study. The mean age and standard deviation of participants was 52.1 +/- 12.6 years with a 39.9 +/- 11.2 pack-year smoking history. The 3-month quit rate was 35% (14 of 40). Fifty percent (20 of 40) of participants used at least one tobacco cessation medication. Only 7.5% (3 of 40) of patients called the quitline, but each of these participants quit smoking. Successful tobacco cessation was associated with a malignant diagnosis and being the only tobacco user in the home (odds ratio, 4.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 17.2; and odds ratio, 6.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 26.3, respectively).


Thoracic surgeons can successfully implement a tobacco cessation program with an excellent rate of abstinence compared with reported cessation rates at 3 months from the literature. Further investigation with a larger sample size, longer follow-up, and improved utilization of the quitline is warranted.

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