Cigarette Smoking Patterns in Patients After Treatment of Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers

J Cancer Educ. 1990;5(2):109-13. doi: 10.1080/08858199009528048.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Mouth Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention