Patients with smoking-related cancers were more likely to be current smokers both before and after diagnosis compared with patients who had nonsmoking-related cancers, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers examined the prevalence of current cigarette smoking among cancer survivors as well as the prevalence of continuing smoking after a cancer diagnosis by analyzing results from the National Health Interview Survey. Prevalence rates were compared between survivors of smoking-related cancers and nonsmoking-related cancers.

Of the 3068 individuals in the study population who had cancer, 589 were smoking-related cancer survivors, 2297 were nonsmoking-related cancer survivors, 168 were survivors of both, and 14 had missing information. A total of 372 cancer survivors were current smokers. Current smoking prevalence was higher among survivors of smoking-related cancers (19.78%) compared with nonsmoking-related cancer survivors (10.63%).

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In addition, 309 cancer survivors who previously smoked quit after their cancer diagnosis. A lower percentage of survivors with smoking-related cancers quit compared with survivors with nonsmoking-related cancers (40.13% vs 48.36%, respectively). Furthermore, 372 survivors continued smoking, including 15 lung cancer and 51 breast cancer survivors.

“Given what is known about the adverse effects of continued smoking after cancer diagnosis, survivors of any cancer, particularly [smoking-related cancers], are at elevated risk for developing further disease and should be prime targets for intervention,” the researchers wrote. “These findings reinforce the importance of broad smoking cessation efforts among cancer survivors.”


Gritz ER, Talluri R, Fokom Domgue J, Tami-Maury I, Shete S. Smoking behaviors in survivors of smoking-related and non-smoking-related cancers [published online July 1, 2020]. JAMA Netw Open. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.9072