Correlates of continued smoking versus cessation among survivors of smoking-related cancers

Carla J. Berg, Akilah N. Thomas, Ann C. Mertens, Gillian L. Schauer, Erika A. Pinsker, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, Fadlo R. Khuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective We examined correlates of continued smoking versus cessation among a sample of survivors of smoking-related cancers who were actively smoking at the time of cancer diagnosis. Methods Participants with a history of smoking and a smoking-related cancer diagnosis (lung, oral, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidney, pancreas, acute myeloid leukemia) within the past 4 years were identified in the electronic medical record. We recruited 613 individuals to complete a mail-based survey and received 139 completed surveys (22.7% response rate). We focused on 105 participants who smoked at the time of diagnosis and dichotomized them to having either quit since diagnosis (48.6%; n = 51) or continued smoking (51.4%; n = 54). We assessed sociodemographics, type of cancer and treatment(s), and psychosocial factors (depressive symptoms, social support, hope, quality of life). We then conducted structured interviews with a subset of 21 survey respondents. Results Binary logistic regression indicated that, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, and income, factors associated with continued smoking versus cessation included being diagnosed with other smoking-related cancers versus lung or head and neck cancer (OR = 11.21, CI 2.85, 44.02) and having significant depressive symptoms (OR = 1.25, CI 1.08, 1.45). Qualitative findings highlighted motivators for cessation (impact of being diagnosed with cancer, doctor advice to quit, social influences) and barriers to cessation (hopelessness, stress, addiction). Conclusions These findings highlight the need to address depressive symptoms among cancer survivors, particularly those continuing to smoke and the importance of exploring messages cancer survivors are given regarding the need for cessation post cancer diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-806
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • cancer
  • depression
  • oncology
  • smoking
  • smoking cessation
  • survivors


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