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Cancer. 2016 Apr 15;122(8):1247-53. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29851. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Smoking, cessation, and cessation counseling in patients with cancer: A population-based analysis.

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Department of Otolaryngology, New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York City, New York.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.
Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut.



Smoking is known to be carcinogenic and an important factor in the outcome of cancer treatment. However, to the authors' knowledge, smoking habits and smoking cessation counseling in patients with cancer have been poorly studied. The authors sought to analyze smoking habits among Americans diagnosed with cancer in a nationally representative dataset.


The cancer supplement of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2010 was used to obtain information regarding self-reported smoking behavior in a representative sample of the US population. Cancer history, smoking history, quitting behavior, cessation counseling, cessation approaches, and sociodemographic variables were analyzed.


A total of 27,157 individuals were interviewed for the NHIS in 2010, representing 216,052,891 individuals, 7,058,135 of whom had ever smoked and 13,188,875 of whom had been told that they had cancer. Approximately 51.7% of individuals diagnosed with cancer and who were active smokers reported being counseled to quit smoking by a health professional within the previous 12 months. Cancer survivors were no more likely to quit smoking than individuals in the general population. Those diagnosed with a tobacco-related cancer were found to be no more likely to report quitting smoking than those with other types of cancers. Rates of quitting did not appear to vary based on the type of smoking cessation method used (P = .50).


Patients with cancer, including those diagnosed with a tobacco-related cancer, do not appear to be more likely to quit smoking than the general population. Only approximately one-half of patients with cancer who smoke are counseled to quit. Smoking cessation in patients with cancer is an important area for intervention and investigation.


cancer; cancer survivors; smoking; smoking cessation

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