The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of a structured smoking cessation intervention during hospitalization on short-term smoking abstinence. Hospitalized surgical oncology patients who smoked (n = 26) and were diagnosed with cancer were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. Experimental group subjects (n = 12) received a structured smoking cessation intervention during hospitalization followed by five weekly phone calls after discharge. Control group subjects (n = 14) received usual care from their health-care providers during hospitalization. Abstinence from smoking, as determined by saliva cotinine, the primary metabolite of nicotine, was measured at first postdischarge visit. Subjects with a saliva cotinine level of < 10 ng/ml were classified as abstinent. At first postdischarge visit, 75% of experimental group subjects were abstinent compared with 42.9% in the usual care group, a 32% difference. These preliminary findings will assist in the design and further evaluation of cancer rehabilitation strategies promoting cessation in hospitalized postoperative cancer patients who continue to smoke.