Smoking cessation and relapse among Black and White patients referred for lung cancer screening

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev


Background: Tobacco quit rates in the adult U.S. population range from 4% to 8% annually. Lung cancer screening (LCS) provides an opportunity for discussion of smoking cessation. Outside of LCS, Blacks have been shown to make more quit attempts and have higher readiness to quit, but have lower quit rates among current smokers and higher relapse rates among former smokers. In this study, we determined quit and relapse rates after a provider referral for LCS in Black and White patients.

Methods: We conducted an observational study within an integrated health system that has both a LCS program and an independent smoking cessation program. Patients, aged 55-77 years who received at least one provider referral (order) for LCS between September 2016 and April 2022 and a second order within 9-36 months, were included in this study. Smoking status was captured in LCS orders. Demographic variables, completion of a low-dose screening CT (LDSCT), smoking cessation counseling referral and medication prescription were captured from the electronic medical record. Pearson Chi-squared test and multivariable logistic regression were used to determine group differences and important predictors of tobacco quit and relapse.

Results: During the study period, 6,096 patients (21% Black) received a referral to LCS and 75% of these patients completed an LDSCT between orders. Among current smokers (N=3715) the quit rate was 14% and relapse occurred in 10% of former smokers (N=2381), overall. Rates of quit (12.0% LDSCT no vs. 14.6% LDSCT yes, p=0.048) and relapse (13.7% LDSCT no vs. 9.4% LDSCT yes, p=0.006) were worse for those who did not complete the LDSCT between orders. Black patients had lower quit (11% vs. 14%, p=0.003) and higher relapse (13.6% vs. 9.7%, p=0.03) rates than Whites. Among Black former smokers who did not complete the LDSCT, the relapse rate was nearly 20% and these patients received referrals to counseling and prescriptions for cessation medications at higher rates than White former smokers. In multivariable models, older age, receiving a prescription for a cessation medication, and completing the LDSCT were associated with smoking cessation, while Black race and receiving a referral for counseling were associated with lower odds of quitting. Black race and longer duration between orders were associated with greater likelihood of relapse, while older age and completing the LDSCT were associated with lower likelihood of relapse.

Discussion: Rates of smoking cessation appear higher in patients referred for LCS than in the general population. In the context of LCS, Black patients still have lower quit and higher relapse rates than White patients. Relapse is particularly high in Black former smokers who do not complete LDSCT after a referral for screening. Lung screening and smoking cessation programs will need to work together to find culturally appropriate resources and ways to reach out to patients referred for screening, especially those who do not complete the LDSCT, to encourage quitting and provide equitable cessation support.





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