Patterns of cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking among Canadian adults with cancer in a contemporary national cohort



To evaluate the patterns of cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking among Canadian adults with cancer in a contemporary national cohort.


Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) annual surveys (2007–2016) were accessed, and cancer patients (identified by the question: Do you have cancer?) with complete information regarding smoking and alcohol drinking were included in the current analysis. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate factors associated with current smoking and alcohol drinking habits.


A total of 15,168 adult patients with cancer with complete information about smoking history and alcohol drinking in the past 12 months were included in the current analysis. Fifteen percent of patients were current smokers at the time of survey completion, and 3.2% exceed national limits for alcohol drinking. The following factors were associated with current smoking: younger age (OR: 2.42; 95% CI: 1.54–3.82), common-law partnership (OR versus single status: 2.61; 95% CI: 1.62–4.18), lower income (OR for patients with income <20,000 versus patients with income >80,000: 3.19; 95% CI: 2.26–4.49), poor self-perceived health (OR for excellent versus poor self-perceived health: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.33–0.83), poor self-perceived mental health (OR for excellent versus poor self-perceived mental health: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.29–0.78), heavy alcohol drinking (OR for no heavy alcohol drinking versus heavy alcohol drinking: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.29–0.58), and illicit drug use (OR: 2.42; 95% CI: 1.96–2.98). The following factors are associated with alcohol drinking beyond recommended levels: male sex (OR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.18–2.14), heavy smoking status (OR for non-smokers versus heavy smokers: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.19–0.48), and illicit drug use (OR: 2.71; 95% CI: 1.96–3.74).


Current smoking and alcohol drinking are not uncommon among Canadian adults with cancer. Further efforts focusing on smoking cessation and alcohol moderation are needed.

Implications for cancer survivors

Coordinated national and provincial efforts are needed to address cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol drinking among individuals with history of cancer.

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This study is based on CCHS datasets which are publicly available datasets collected by StatCan.

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Correspondence to Omar Abdel-Rahman.

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Abdel-Rahman, O. Patterns of cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking among Canadian adults with cancer in a contemporary national cohort. J Cancer Surviv (2021).

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  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Cancer
  • Adults
  • Canada