A new study in JCO Oncology Practice (JCO OP) highlights an effective effort to increase the use of evidence-based, state smoking cessation programs among patients with cancer and survivors who use tobacco. In Michigan, state agencies and the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium partnered to create and implement a program that would provide patients with the tools and resources to help them quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis. The collaboratively designed program, the Michigan Tobacco Quitline (Quitline), uses an opt-out approach to refer tobacco users to existing state smoking cessation resources.
Between 2012 and 2017, 4,347 patients with cancer enrolled in the Quitline, and during this time oncology practice referrals to state smoking cessation resources increased from 5% to 17%. This significant increase led to a 26% quit rate for patients with cancer. The Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System also saw an increase in smoking cessation in cancer survivors from 60% to 80% between 2013 to 2016.
The JCO OP study comes following the latest Surgeon General’s report, its first report on smoking cessation in 30 years, which suggests that quitting smoking lowers mortality rates for smokers who are diagnosed with cancer. Both the study and the report show that it’s never too late to quit smoking, even after a cancer diagnosis.
Quitline also demonstrates how a collaborative initiative to promote existing resources can be a cost-effective way to serve patients in an increasingly expensive health care environment.
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