A descriptive study of cervical cancer survivors' persistent smoking behavior and perceived barriers to quitting

Psychol Addict Behav. 2022 Feb;36(1):109-116. doi: 10.1037/adb0000692. Epub 2021 Mar 25.


Objective: Cervical cancer survivors (CCS) tend to smoke cigarettes at rates much higher than other cancer survivors and women in the general population. However, few studies take a deep dive into the smoking behavior of cervical cancer survivors and none focus on the barriers they experience related to smoking cessation. This study aimed to describe CCS' tobacco use characteristics, quit attempts, and barriers to quit success.

Method: In a concurrent mixed-method design, 50 CCS (94% White nonHispanic) who were diagnosed in the past 5 years and were current smokers at diagnosis provided data via standardized questionnaire and semi-structured interview.

Results: More than three-quarters of participants were current smokers at the time of study participation, 25.6% of whom also reported noncigarette tobacco use (e.g., electronic cigarette, cigar, snus). Seventy percent of participants reported making at least one 24 hr quit attempt postdiagnosis, with 61.5% of current smokers preferring to quit without professional advice or counseling and 51.3% preferring to quit without medication assistance. Four themes emerged regarding barriers to smoking cessation: motivation and readiness; confidence and uncertainty; triggers; and social and environmental factors.

Conclusions: The rate of smoking in CCS is remarkably high, which may partly be explained by negative attitudes toward and low use of evidence-based treatment as well as multi-level barriers to smoking cessation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Smoking
  • Smoking Cessation*