September 16, 2017
2 min read

Smoking cessation counseling successfully integrates into screening program

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CHICAGO — A majority of heavy smokers enrolled in University of Arkansas’s lung cancer screening program quit or decreased their tobacco use while undergoing tobacco cessation counseling, according to study results presented at International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

These results suggest that the integration of counseling into a screening program may be beneficial, according to the researchers.

“Although lung screening programs may find only 1% to 2% of patients have cancer, cessation resources can benefit many more participants and be the potential greater good for all,” Andrew J. Nagy, MD, general surgery resident in the department of surgery at University of Arkansas, said during a presentation.

Guidelines support annual low-dose CT, and CMS requires smoking cessation to be offered, Nagy said. However, there are no standardized methods to deliver cessation resources.

Since nicotine addiction is prevalent among individuals enrolled in the screening program at University of Arkansas (70.2%), researchers integrated smoking cessation counseling into their lung cancer screening program in 2014.

“The goals were to determine how effectively patients are reached with cessation resources and the quit rate in this population,” Nagy said.

Nagy and colleagues conducted phone surveys with patients aged 55 to 79 years who were smokers at the time of the most recent screening to determine whether they had quit smoking, reduced the amount of smoking or made no change to their smoking.

Over a 26-month period, 309 patients were deemed active smokers. Tobacco specialists spoke with every patient over the phone and provided some sort of phone cessation service.

“Of these, 80% received in-depth face-to-face counseling at time and place of screening; 18% were not able to get counseling due to unusual time; and only 1% of patients refused face-to-face counseling, however they were offered it,” Nagy said.

At 1-year intervention, 12.9% had quit smoking. Of those who didn’t quit, 60.4% reduced the amount they were smoking and 35% made no changes.

“A 12.9% quit rate may sound modest, but unaided cessation is low, between 4% and 5%,” Nagy said. “An integrated screening and smoking cessation program can deliver counsel effectively.” – by Melinda Stevens


Steliga MA, et al. Abstract OA03.01. Presented at: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology; Sept. 14-16, 2017; Chicago.

Disclosure: Nagy reports no relevant financial disclosures.