Background: Quitting smoking improves cancer survival and improves symptoms of cancer and its treatment. Cancer diagnosis presents a powerful motivation for leading a healthier lifestyle and embracing behavioral changes, such as quitting smoking. Many smokers quit after a cancer diagnosis, but some survivors continue to smoke. This study examined the characteristics associated with being a former rather than a current smoker among women treated for breast cancer.
Methods: In this pilot, cross-sectional study, data were collected via postal surveys in women who had a history of smoking and breast cancer (N = 69). Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with smoking status.
Results: Of this sample, 13 were current smokers and 56 were former smokers. Age, race, education, and employment status were not associated with smoking status. Women with a higher income were significantly more likely to have successfully quit smoking (former smoking OR = 5.94, p < 0.05). Most women were light smokers and reported intentions to quit.
Conclusion: The study attests to the addictive nature of smoking and the difficulty in achieving successful quitting even after breast cancer diagnosis. Results highlighted the role of low income as a barrier in smoking cessation. A follow up study is warranted to uncover potential barriers to smoking cessation in order to individualize tobacco treatment to meet the needs of motivated light smoking cancer patients. Intensive innovative tobacco treatment approaches are warranted, to reach successful cessation particularly among cancer patients with lower income.