Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 522–531 | Cite as

A Genetic Lung Cancer Susceptibility Test may have a Positive Effect on Smoking Cessation

  • Tammy Kammin
  • Andrew K. Fenton
  • Kathryn ThirlawayEmail author


Smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Genetic loci have been identified which could form the basis of a lung cancer susceptibility test; but little is known whether such a test would interest or motivate those trying to quit smoking. To address this, we investigated the attitudes of people trying to quit smoking towards genetic susceptibility testing for lung cancer. Participant’s attitudes to topics associated with lung cancer susceptibility testing were assessed; were they interested in genetic testing? What impact would a hypothetical high- or low- risk result have on smoking cessation? 680 self-completion questionnaires were given to individuals attending National Health Service stop smoking clinics in three different areas of the United Kingdom between 2011 and 2012. 139 questionnaires were returned, giving a 20 % response rate. Participants expressed an interest in a genetic susceptibility test for lung cancer and almost all reported that a high-risk result would increase their motivation to stop smoking. However, many participants had a neutral attitude towards a low-risk result. Most participants agreed their smoking habit could lead to lung cancer. Lung cancer susceptibility testing may be a useful incentive to help people quit smoking. This study suggests the need for genetic services to work with smoking cessation teams if routine testing becomes available in the future.


Genetic testing Attitude scales Lung cancer Smoking cessation Genetic counseling Genetic susceptibility testing Transtheoretical model 



We would like to thank Dr Marion McAllister and Prof. Angus Clarke from Cardiff University for their advice and support in gaining ethical approval. We thank the Smoking Cessation Teams based at Cardiff, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Middlesbrough for their support and enthusiasm in recruiting participants to this study, with particular thanks to Mrs Karen Heslop (Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle), Ms Helen Poole & Dr Ramsey Sabit (University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff), and Mrs Gillian McIlhinney (James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough). We would finally like to thank the participants who completed and returned the questionnaires.

Conflict of Interest Statement

TK, AKF and KT declare that they have no conflict of interest.

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible ommittee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tammy Kammin
    • 1
  • Andrew K. Fenton
    • 2
  • Kathryn Thirlaway
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Genetic Medicine, International Centre for Life, Central ParkwayNewcastleUK
  2. 2.Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Baddiley-Clark Building, Medical SchoolNewcastle UniversityNewcastle-upon-TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of Applied Psychology, School of Health SciencesCardiff Metropolitan UniversityCardiffUK

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