Correlates of continued smoking versus cessation among survivors of smoking-related cancers

Psychooncology. 2013 Apr;22(4):799-806. doi: 10.1002/pon.3077. Epub 2012 Apr 9.


Objective: We examined correlates of continued smoking versus cessation among a sample of survivors of smoking-related cancers who were actively smoking at the time of cancer diagnosis.

Methods: Participants with a history of smoking and a smoking-related cancer diagnosis (lung, oral, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidney, pancreas, acute myeloid leukemia) within the past 4 years were identified in the electronic medical record. We recruited 613 individuals to complete a mail-based survey and received 139 completed surveys (22.7% response rate). We focused on 105 participants who smoked at the time of diagnosis and dichotomized them to having either quit since diagnosis (48.6%; n = 51) or continued smoking (51.4%; n = 54). We assessed sociodemographics, type of cancer and treatment(s), and psychosocial factors (depressive symptoms, social support, hope, quality of life). We then conducted structured interviews with a subset of 21 survey respondents.

Results: Binary logistic regression indicated that, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, and income, factors associated with continued smoking versus cessation included being diagnosed with other smoking-related cancers versus lung or head and neck cancer (OR = 11.21, CI 2.85, 44.02) and having significant depressive symptoms (OR = 1.25, CI 1.08, 1.45). Qualitative findings highlighted motivators for cessation (impact of being diagnosed with cancer, doctor advice to quit, social influences) and barriers to cessation (hopelessness, stress, addiction).

Conclusions: These findings highlight the need to address depressive symptoms among cancer survivors, particularly those continuing to smoke and the importance of exploring messages cancer survivors are given regarding the need for cessation post cancer diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Survivors / psychology*