Background: The relation between undergoing a single computed tomography (CT) screening for lung carcinoma and the potential long-term impact on smoking status has been equivocal. Perhaps, recommendations from multiple cancer screenings may promote smoking abstinence among individuals at high risk for lung carcinoma.
Methods: The current longitudinal study comprised 926 current smokers and 594 former smokers who participated in 3 annual follow-up low-dose, fast spiral chest CT scan screenings for lung carcinoma. Baseline demographic, pulmonary function, smoking history variables, and previous abnormal findings were evaluated as predictors of self-reported point prevalence smoking abstinence.
Results: Among current smokers at baseline, abstinence from smoking during the 3-year follow-up was associated with older age, worse baseline pulmonary function, and abnormal CT finding the previous year requiring interim follow-up. Of participants who received abnormal screens each of the previous 3 years, 41.9% reported smoking abstinence compared with 28.0% with 2 abnormal screens, 24.2% with 1 abnormal screen, and 19.8% with no abnormal screens. Among former smokers, abstinence from smoking was associated with a longer duration of abstinence before the baseline visit.
Conclusions: Smokers with abnormal CT findings from multiple CT screens were more likely to be abstinent from smoking at the 3-year follow-up. Multiple low-dose, fast spiral chest CT scan screenings for lung carcinoma may represent teachable moments and opportunities to enhance motivation for smoking abstinence. Further research is needed to continue to investigate how annual screening may enhance motivation for health behavior change.