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Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Jan;15(1):52-8. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts083. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Tobacco use treatment at the U.S. National Cancer Institute's designated Cancer Centers.

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Department of Family Medicine, UNC School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27595, USA.



Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer, and continued use after cancer diagnosis puts patients at greater risk for adverse health outcomes, including increased risk for cancer recurrence. This study surveyed National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers to assess the availability of tobacco use treatment (TUT) services.


Directors and oncology providers of 58 NCI-designated Cancer Centers received invitations to participate in an online survey. The questionnaire asked about attitudes, awareness, policies, and practices related to TUT; barriers to treatment provision; and factors likely to increase services.


All 58 Cancer Centers participated. Twelve (20.7%) Centers reported no TUT services for their patients. Of the remainder, 34 (58.6%) reported a TUT program within their Center and 12 (20.7%) reported external TUT services in their health care system or affiliated university. Only 62% of Centers reported routinely providing tobacco education materials to patients, just over half reported effective identification of patient tobacco use, and less than half reported an employee dedicated to providing TUT services or a clear commitment to providing TUT services from Center leadership. The 34 centers with internal TUT programs reported significantly greater services and administration support for TUT Services.


These data demonstrate a national need for Cancer Centers to embrace and incorporate recommended standards for TUT. Tying TUT services to NCI recognition and providing stable funding for TUT services in Cancer Centers could lead to better health outcomes, treatment efficacy, and satisfaction for all U.S. Cancer Centers and their patients.

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