Smoking and Smoking Cessation Among Persons with Tobacco- and Non-tobacco-Associated Cancers

J Community Health. 2019 Jun;44(3):552-560. doi: 10.1007/s10900-019-00622-z.


Purpose: To examine smoking and use of smoking cessation aids among tobacco-associated cancer (TAC) or non-tobacco-associated cancer (nTAC) survivors. Understanding when and if specific types of cessation resources are used can help with planning interventions to more effectively decrease smoking among all cancer survivors, but there is a lack of research on smoking cessation modalities used among cancer survivors.

Methods: Kentucky Cancer Registry data on incident lung, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer cases diagnosed 2007-2011, were linked with health administrative claims data (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurers) to examine the prevalence of smoking and use of smoking cessation aids 1 year prior and 1 year following the cancer diagnosis. TACs included colorectal, pancreatic, and lung cancers; nTAC included breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.

Results: There were 10,033 TAC and 13,670 nTAC survivors. Smoking before diagnosis was significantly higher among TAC survivors (p < 0.0001). Among TAC survivors, smoking before diagnosis was significantly higher among persons who: were males (83%), aged 45-64 (83%), of unknown marital status (84%), had very low education (78%), had public insurance (89%), Medicaid (85%) or were uninsured (84%). Smoking cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy were more common among TAC than nTAC survivors (p < 0.01 and p = 0.05, respectively).

Discussion: While smoking cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy were higher among TAC survivors, reducing smoking among all cancer survivors remains a priority, given cancer survivors are at increased risk for subsequent chronic diseases, including cancer. Tobacco cessation among all cancer survivors (not just those with TAC) can help improve prognosis, quality of life and reduce the risk of further disease. Health care providers can recommend for individual, group and telephone counseling and/or pharmacotherapy recommendations. These could also be included in survivorship care plans.

Keywords: Health administrative claims; Linkage; Registry; Smoking; Smoking cessation; Tobacco-associated cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Products
  • United States
  • Young Adult