Introduction: Smoking cessation among cancer patients is critical for improving outcomes. Understanding factors associated with smoking abstinence after the diagnosis of cancer can provide direction to develop and test interventions to enhance cessation rates. The purpose of this study was to identify determinants of smoking outcomes among cancer patients.
Methods: Standardized questionnaires were used to collect data from 163 smokers or recent-quitters (quit≤6 months) at study entry of which 132 and 121 had data collected at 3 and 6 months. Biochemical verification was conducted with urinary cotinine and carbon monoxide. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach alpha coefficients, Pearson correlations, Fisher's exact test, and multivariable logistic regression were used for analyses.
Results: Seven-day-point-prevalence-abstinence (PPA) rates were 90/132 (68%) at 3 months; 46/71 (65%) among lung and 44/61 (72%) among head and neck cancer patients, whereas 7-day-PPA rates were 74/121 (61%) at 6 months; 31/58 (53%) among lung and 43/63 (68%) among head and neck cancer patients. Continuous abstinence rates were 63/89 (71%) at 3 months; 32/45 (71%) among lung and 31/44 (70%) among head and neck cancer patients, whereas continuous abstinence rates were 46/89 (52%) at 6 months; 18/45 (40%) among lung and 28/44 (64%) among head and neck cancer patients. Lower cancer-related, psychological and nicotine withdrawal symptoms were associated with increased 7-D-PPA abstinence rates at 3 and 6 months in univariate models. In multivariable models, however, decreased craving was significantly related with 7-day-PPA at 3 months and decreased craving and increased self-efficacy were associated with 7-D-PPA at 6 months. Decreased craving was the only factor associated with continuous abstinence at 6 months.
Conclusions: Smoking outcomes among lung and head and neck cancer patients appear to have remained the same over the last two decades despite the availability of an increased number of pharmacotherapy options to treat tobacco dependence. Decreased craving and increased self-efficacy were the most consistent factors associated with improved smoking outcomes but symptom control may also play a role in optimal management. Use of combined, and/or higher doses of pharmacotherapy along with behavioral interventions that increase self-efficacy and manage symptoms may promote enhanced cessation rates.
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