Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 66–74 | Cite as

Smoking cessation attitudes and practices among cancer survivors – United States, 2015

  • M. Shayne GallawayEmail author
  • Rebecca Glover-Kudon
  • Behnoosh Momin
  • Mary Puckett
  • Natasha Buchanan Lunsford
  • Kathleen R. Ragan
  • Elizabeth A. Rohan
  • Stephen Babb



The prevalence of smoking among cancer survivors is similar to the general population. However, there is little evidence on the prevalence of specific smoking cessation behaviors among adult cancer survivors.


The 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data were analyzed to examine the prevalence of smoking cessation behaviors and use of treatments among cancer survivors. Weighted self-reported prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using a sample of 2527 cancer survivors.


Among this sample of US cancer survivors, 12% were current smokers, 37% were former smokers, and 51% were never smokers. Compared with former and never smokers, current smokers were younger (< 65 years), less educated, and less likely to report being insured or Medicaid health insurance (p < 0.01). More males were former smokers than current or never smokers. Current smokers reported wanting to quit (57%), a past year quit attempt (49%), or a health professional advised them to quit (66%). Current smokers reported the use of smoking cessation counseling (8%) or medication (38%).


Even after a cancer diagnosis, about one in eight cancer survivors continued to smoke. All could have received advice to quit smoking by a health professional, but a third did not.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Health professionals could consistently advise cancer survivors about the increased risks associated with continued smoking, provide them with cessation counseling and medications, refer them to other free cessation resources, and inform them of cessation treatments covered by their health insurance.


Smoking Smoking cessation Cancer survivor Medication National survey 


Author contributions

Gallaway: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, writing original-draft, writing-review and editing, and project administration. Glover-Kudon: conceptualization, methodology, writing original-draft, writing-review and editing, resources, and project administration. Momin, Puckett, Buchanan Lunsford, Ragan, and Rohan: conceptualization, methodology, writing original-draft, writing-review, and editing. Babb: conceptualization, methodology, writing original-draft, writing-review and editing, resources, and project administration.


All funding was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not include any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Shayne Gallaway
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Glover-Kudon
    • 2
  • Behnoosh Momin
    • 1
  • Mary Puckett
    • 1
  • Natasha Buchanan Lunsford
    • 1
  • Kathleen R. Ragan
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Rohan
    • 1
  • Stephen Babb
    • 2
  1. 1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and ControlNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health PromotionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health PromotionAtlantaUSA

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