Background: Patients who smoke put themselves at increased risk for serious surgical complications, yet it is not currently routine practice to educate patients about the risk of complications due to smoking. Computer-based smoking cessation programs are increasingly being utilized in the general population and may overcome some of the barriers such as lack of time, knowledge, and training to provide interventions. Our objective was to develop and implement a patient e-learning program designed for surgical patients as part of a multifaceted program aimed at assisting them to quit smoking and to determine the factors cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with abstinence.
Methods: In this prospective multicenter study, smokers undergoing elective noncardiac surgery participated in a preoperative smoking cessation program consisting of a patient e-learning program, brief advice, educational pamphlet, tobacco quitline referral, letter to the primary care physician, and pharmacotherapy. The patient e-learning program described (1) the benefits of quitting smoking before surgery; (2) how to quit smoking; and (3) how to cope while quitting. The 7-day point prevalence (PP) abstinence on the day of surgery and at 1, 3 and 6 six months after surgery was separately assessed, and factors most associated with abstinence were identified using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Generalized estimating equation methods were used to estimate effect of the factors associated with abstinence longitudinally. The reach of the program was assessed with the number of smokers who participated in the program versus the number of patients who were referred to the program.
Results: A total of 459 patients (68.9% of eligible patients) participated. The 7-day PP abstinence at day of surgery, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months was 22%, 29%, 25%, and 22%, respectively. The variables predicting abstinence at 6 months were use of pharmacotherapy (odds ratio [OR], 7.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.71-14.44; P < .0001) and number of contacts with a tobacco quitline (OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.35-1.90; P < .0001). Presence of other smokers in the household (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.21-0.72; P = .0030) and amount spent on cigarettes weekly at baseline (per $10 increase) (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61-0.87; P = .0004) were barriers to abstinence.
Conclusions: Our preoperative smoking cessation program resulted in a 7-day PP abstinence of 22% at 6 months. A multifaceted intervention including a patient e-learning program may be a valuable tool to overcome some of the barriers to help surgical patients quit smoking.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02053155.