Willingness of cancer patients to help family members to quit smoking

Yolanda I. Garces, Christi A. Patten, Pamela S. Sinicrope, Paul A. Decker, Kenneth P. Offord, Paul D. Brown, Matthew M. Clark, Teresa A. Rummans, Robert L. Foote, Richard D. Hurt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: The impact of social support on successful smoking cessation has been well documented. However, little is known about whether personal experience with cancer may motivate cancer survivors to support smoking cessation among their family members and friends. As a first step in this line of research, we sought to explore interest in playing a supportive role for smoking cessation as well as correlates of such interest among cancer survivors. Methods: Cancer survivors undergoing radiation therapy (N=211) completed a 77-item pencil-paper questionnaire. A section of the survey assessed interest in helping a smoker quit and characteristics of the smoking social network member. Respondents provided information on their smoking status, medical status, and psychosocial and behavioral factors related to cigarette smoking. Results: Over half of the respondents 114 (54%) reported having someone close to them (family member or friend) smoking cigarettes who they thought should quit. Of these respondents (44 females, 70 males) 78% (89/114) reported they were definitely or probably interested in helping a smoker quit. Nearly all respondents wanted to help a family member (typically an adult child). Conclusions: Results suggest the potential feasibility of engaging cancer survivors to help family members quit smoking. Research is needed to determine the optimal methods and timing for engaging the cancer patient to maximize positive effects and minimize potential harms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-729
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • cancer survivors
  • family members
  • neoplasms
  • smoking cessation
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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