Background: Health-related behaviors are of particular concern in survivors of childhood cancer as they are at increased risk for second cancers and long-term organ dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to compare the smoking behavior and associated factors in young-adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with those in sibling controls.
Methods: A telephone interview that surveyed smoking behavior was conducted with 592 young-adult survivors, treated before age 20 years on Children's Cancer Group ALL protocols, and 409 sibling controls. Using stratified chi-squared analyses and Cox proportional hazards models, we compared the rates of smoking initiation and smoking cessation between survivors and control subjects. Demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and education) and psychological factors (mood and self-concept) were examined as predictors interacting with survivorship in logistic regression analyses to try to distinguish a subgroup of survivors who may be at greater risk for smoking.
Results: Survivors were significantly less likely to have ever smoked (23.0% versus 35.7%; P<.0001) and thus were less likely to ever be regular, daily smokers than sibling controls (19.1% versus 31.3%; P<.0001). Survivors were less likely to quit smoking than sibling controls (26.6% versus 35.2%), although this result was not statistically significant. There were no interactions between survivor status and either demographic or psychological features on smoking behavior.
Conclusions: Young-adult survivors of childhood ALL are less likely to experiment with smoking but, once having started, are at similar risk for becoming habitual, persistent smokers as sibling controls.