Compared characteristics of current vs. past smokers at the time of diagnosis of a first-time lung or head and neck cancer: a cross-sectional study

BMC Cancer. 2018 Apr 3;18(1):372. doi: 10.1186/s12885-018-4253-5.


Background: Active smoking at the time of diagnosis of a first head & neck (H&N) or lung cancer is associated with a worse cancer outcome and increased mortality. However, the compared characteristics of active vs. former smokers at cancer diagnosis are poorly known.

Methods: In 371 subjects with a first H&N or lung cancer, we assessed: 1) socio-demographic features; 2) lifelong types of smoking; 3) alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT); 4) cannabis abuse screening test (CAST); and 5) Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Using a multivariable regression model, we compared the profile of current smokers and past smokers.

Results: Current smokers more frequently exhibited H&N cancer (OR 3.91; 95% CI [2.00-6.51]; p < 0.0001) and ever smoking of hand-rolled cigarettes (OR 2.2; 95% CI [1.25-3.88]; p = 0.007). Among subjects with lung cancer (n = 177), current smoking was primarily associated with ever smoking of hand-rolled cigarettes (OR 2.88; 95% CI [1.32-6.30]; p = 0.008) and negatively associated with age (OR 0.92; 95% CI [0.89-0.96]; p < 0.001). Among subjects with H&N cancer (n = 163), current smokers exhibited a significantly greater AUDIT score (OR = 1.08; 95% CI [1.01-1.16]; p = 0.03).

Conclusion: At the time of diagnosis of the first lung or H&N cancer, current smoking is highly associated with previous type of smoking and alcohol drinking patterns.

Trial registration: NCT01647425 ; Registration date: July 23, 2012.

Keywords: Alcohol-related disorders; Head & Neck Neoplasms; Lung neoplasms; Tobacco use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smokers*
  • Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Time Factors

Associated data