Change in amount smoked and readiness to quit among patients undergoing lung cancer screening

Danielle E. Deros, Charlotte J. Hagerman, Jenna A. Kramer, Eric D. Anderson, Shawn Regis, Andrea B. McKee, Brady J. McKee, Cassandra A. Stanton, Ray Niaura, David B. Abrams, Michael Ramsaier, Shelby Fallon, Harry Harper, Kathryn L. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: There is mixed evidence regarding whether undergoing computed tomography lung cancer screening (LCS) can serve as a "teachable moment" that impacts smoking behavior and attitudes. The study aim was to assess whether the standard procedures of undergoing LCS and receiving free and low-cost evidence-based cessation resources impacted short-term smoking-related outcomes. Methods: Participants were smokers (N=87) who were registered to undergo lung screening and were enrolled in a cessation intervention trial. We conducted two phone interviews, both preceding trial randomization: the first interview was conducted prior to lung screening, and the second interview followed lung screening (median =12.5 days post-screening) and participants' receipt of their screening results. The interviews assessed demographic characteristics, interest in evidence-based cessation intervention methods, and tobacco-related characteristics, including cigarettes per day and readiness to quit. Participants received minimal evidence-based cessation resources following the pre-lung screening interview. Results: Participants were 60.3 years old, 56.3% female, and reported a median of 40 pack-years. Participants were interested in using several evidence-based strategies, including counseling from a healthcare provider (76.7%) and receiving nicotine replacement therapy (69.8%). Pre-lung screening, 25.3% smoked =10 cigarettes per day, and 29.9% were ready to quit in the next 30 days. We conducted two McNemar binomial distribution tests to assess change from pre- to post-screening. At the post-lung screening assessment, approximately three-quarters reported no change on these variables. However, 23.3% reported smoking fewer cigarettes per day, whereas 4.7% reported smoking more cigarettes per day (McNemar P=0.002), and 17.2% reported increased readiness to quit, whereas 6.9% reported decreased readiness to quit (McNemar P=0.078). Conclusions: Following receipt of cessation resources and completion of lung screening, most participants reported no change in smoking outcomes. However, there was a significant reduction in cigarettes per day, and there was a trend for increased readiness to quit. This setting may provide a potential "teachable moment" and an opportunity to assist smokers with quitting. However, more proactive and intensive interventions will be necessary to capitalize on these changes and to support abstinence in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4947-4955
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • CT lung cancer screening (CT LCS)
  • Lung cancer
  • Smoking behaviors
  • Teachable moment
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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