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Smoking Cessation and Continued Risk in Cancer Patients

Smoking Intervention in Cancer Patients

Although smoking cessation research has been conducted in other patient groups, especially heart patients, few studies have involved cancer patients. These studies have shown the importance of involvement of physicians and other health care professionals in helping patients to stop smoking. The ASK, ADVISE, ASSIST, and ARRANGE model was developed in the late 1980s for health care providers and their patients who smoke. Using this model, the physician asks the patient about smoking status at every visit, advises the patient to stop smoking, assists the patient by setting a date to quit smoking, provides self-help materials, recommends use of nicotine replacement therapy (for example, the nicotine patch), and arranges for follow-up visits.

A smoking cessation study of eligible patients with cancer found that most who enrolled had a long-term smoking habit, drank alcohol several times per week, and were likely to be depressed. The study found that a smoking cessation program for such patients can be provided despite challenges, with special attention given to smokers with depression.

Not all smokers are motivated to stop smoking. Physicians should help patients become motivated to quit smoking. It is common for first time quitters to start smoking again once or many times. Quitters should be taught to anticipate stressful situations in which they will want to smoke, and to develop strategies for handling them. It may take more than a year for even motivated smokers to stop smoking. The following resources are designed to help people quit smoking: