There is a paucity of data on variables predictive of successful smoking cessation in cancer patients. In this questionnaire-based study, we report the smoking status of 75 patients (46 men, 29 women) with head and neck cancer followed for a minimum of 30 months after definitive therapy. Seventy-one percent of the men and 61% of the women who were current smokers at diagnosis stopped smoking subsequent to diagnosis and treatment. Only 29% and 39%, respectively, continued to smoke, most at decreased intensity. Patients with laryngeal cancer were most likely to have stopped (83%). Conversely, patients with oral cavity cancer were most likely to be continuing smokers (66%). In addition, older age, college education, and lighter smoking habits were somewhat predictive of successful cessation. Fear of recurrent disease and physician advice were the questionnaire-listed incentives most often chosen as contributing to success in cessation. The role health professionals can play in counseling cancer patients to stop smoking is stressed.