The Natural Trajectory of Smoking Cessation Among Cancer Patients Who Want to Quit “On Their Own”: A Mixed-Methods, Longitudinal Study

Tia Borger, Abigayle R. Feather, Kathleen E. Wakeman, William Bowling, Jessica L. Burris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Many cancer patients who smoke cigarettes want to quit. Unfortunately, many of these cancer patients prefer to quit without the aid of pharmacotherapy or behavioral counseling. The teachable moment of cancer diagnosis might still position these cancer patients to make meaningful changes in their smoking behavior, but no study has documented the trajectory of smoking cessation outcomes among cancer patients who want to quit “on their own.” This study aimed to fill this gap in the literature. Methods: In this mixed-methods, longitudinal study, 35 cancer patients who declined tobacco treatment because of the desire to quit “on their own” provided data via three surveys and 1–2 semi-structured interviews. The observation period spanned 60 days. Participants were recently diagnosed at and recruited from outpatient cancer clinics. Results: Participants were mostly female (68.57%), White, non-Hispanic (85.71%), unemployed due to disability (57.14%), and rural residents (54.29%). Across time, 43.76% of participants achieved 50% smoking reduction, 21.88% achieved 3-day floating abstinence, 18.75% achieved 7-day floating abstinence, and 12.50% achieved 30-day point-prevalence abstinence. Key themes that emerged from the interviews centered on intention and confidence to quit and types of tobacco treatment used/received. Conclusions: This study with cancer patients who desired to quit smoking without assistance found some evidence of quit success, but success waned as criteria grew more stringent. Results showed participants’ initial intention to quit unassisted was quite strong, as few reported tobacco treatment use. Interventions to increase the uptake of evidence-based tobacco treatment among cancer patients are sorely needed. Implications: The preference to quit smoking without assistance is common among cancer patients, even given lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness. This study is the first to explore the trajectory of smoking cessation outcomes among cancer patients who desire to quit without assistance. These data can be used to develop interventions to increase the uptake of tobacco treatment and increase quit success among cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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