Smoking cessation after surgery. A randomized trial

Arch Intern Med. 1997 Jun 23;157(12):1371-6.


Background: Cigarette smoking is the greatest cause of preventable mortality in the United States. Because most smokers would like to quit and most hospitals are smoke free, surgical admissions represent a window of opportunity for tobacco cessation interventions.

Methods: A total of 324 patients (98% men), aged 25 to 82 years, who were current smokers and who underwent noncardiac surgery were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, Calif. One hundred sixty-eight participants (52%) received a multicomponent intervention designed to increase self-efficacy and coping skills that included face-to-face in-hospital counseling, viewing a smoking cessation videotape, self-help literature, nicotine replacement therapy, and 3 months of telephone follow-up. One hundred fifty-six participants (48%) received self-help literature and brief counseling lasting 10 minutes. Serum or saliva cotinine levels were measured to confirm self-reported smoking cessation.

Results: At 12 months of follow-up, the self-reported quit rate was 27% among the intervention group and 13% among the comparison group (relative risk, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-3.5; P < .01). Based on biochemical confirmation, 15% of the intervention group, compared with 8% of the comparison group, quit smoking at 12 months (relative risk, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.9; P = .04).

Conclusions: A smoking cessation intervention targeted at smokers hospitalized for noncardiac surgery can increase long-term quit rates. Surgical hospitalizations provide an opportunity to reach smokers who want to quit smoking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • California
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*