Efficacy of a tobacco quitline among adult cancer survivors

Robert C. Klesges, Rebecca A. Krukowski, James L. Klosky, Wei Liu, Deo Kumar Srivastava, James M. Boyett, Jennifer Q. Lanctot, Melissa M. Hudson, Charla Folsom, Harry Lando, Leslie L. Robison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of the study (conducted 2010-2013) was to determine the efficacy of two common types of tobacco quitlines in adult cancer survivors who regularly smoked cigarettes. Method: Adult onset cancer survivors in Memphis, Tennessee (n. =. 427, 67% female, 60% Caucasian) were randomized either to a Proactive (i.e., counselor-initiated calls) or Reactive (i.e., participant-initiated calls) quitline. Both conditions also received nicotine replacement therapy. The primary outcome was biochemically-verified (i.e., salivary cotinine) smoking cessation. Results: While 12-month self-reported abstinence was consistent with other published studies of smoking cessation (22% and 26% point prevalence abstinence for Proactive and Reactive conditions, respectively), 48% of participants who were tested for cotinine failed biochemical verification, indicating a considerable falsification of self-reported cessation. Adjusted cessation rates were less than 5% in both intervention conditions. Conclusion: Our results are consistent with other studies indicating that traditional smoking cessation interventions are ineffective among cancer survivors. Moreover, self-reports of cessation were unreliable in cancer survivors participating in a quitline intervention, indicating that future studies should include biochemical verification. Given the importance of smoking cessation among cancer survivors and low cessation rates in the current study, it may be necessary to design alternative interventions for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive medicine
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute ( CA127964 , R. Klesges PI), Cancer Center Support grant ( CA21765 , R. Gilbertson PI); and the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Adults
  • Cancer
  • Intervention studies
  • Smoking cessation
  • Survivors


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