According to a study published January 23 online in Cancer, many smokers do not drop the habit after being diagnosed with colorectal or lung cancer. The study by Elyse R. Ph.D., M.P.H.and her team at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston involved 3,063 patients with colorectal cancer and 2,456 with lung cancer. The patients were seen at the time of diagnosis, and also five months later. The researchers set out to determine what was driving them to continue smoking.

Park states:

“These findings can help cancer clinicians identify patients who are at risk for smoking
and guide tobacco counseling.”

The researchers found that 90.2 percent of patients with lung cancer, and 54.8 percent of those with colorectal cancer reported having smoked at one point in their lives. Those diagnosed with lung cancer said they had smoked at the time of their diagnoses, and 14.2 percent were still smoking 5 months later. On the other hand, 13.7 percent of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer had been smoking at the time of their diagnoses, but only 9 percent were still smoking 5 months later.

Factors largely associated with continued smoking in patients with nonmetastatic lung cancer included:

  • no chemotherapy or surgery
  • not enough emotional support
  • insufficient Medicare or other types of medical insurance
  • former cardiovascular disease
  • lesser body mass index
  • greater daily smoking prevalence

Factors contributing to smokers with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer included:

  • having no insurance
  • being male
  • having a high school education
  • not having had surgery
  • greater daily smoking prevalence

Smoking seriously damages people’s health, and especially those diagnosed with cancer. Patients should be advised that giving up would considerably improve their overall quality of life.

Nictotine is one of the most addictive substances that are legally and illegally available to humans. Experts from the AMA (American Heart Association) found that nicotine is as addictive as heroin.

Recent studies have shown that the nicotine content of cigarettes in North America and Western Europe (and many other parts of the world) increased by an average of 1.6% per year from 1998 to 2005.

Healthcare professionals believe that nicotine content should be made to go down, so that current quit smoking therapies may have a better chance of success.

Written By Christine Kearney