Smoking Habits of Relatives of Patients with Cancer: Cancer Diagnosis in the Family is an Important Teachable Moment for Smoking Cessation


Background: In this study we aimed to determine the rate and habitual patterns of smoking, intentions ofcessation, dependence levels and sociodemographic characteristics of relatives of patients with a diagnosis ofcancer. Materials and
Methods: This study was designed by the Turkish Oncology Group, Epidemiology andPrevention Subgroup. The relatives of cancer patients were asked to fill a questionnaire and Fagerstrom testof nicotine dependence.
Results: The median ages of those with lower and higher Fagerstrom scores were 40years and 42 years, respectively. We found no evidence of variation between the two groups for the remainingsociodemographic variables, including the subject’s medical status, gender, living in the same house with thepatient, their educational status, their family income, closeness to their cancer patients or spending time withthem or getting any help or wanting to get some help. Only 2% of the subjects started smoking after cancer wasdiagnosed in their loved ones and almost 20% of subjects had quit smoking during the previous year.
Conclusions:The Fagerstrom score is helpful in determining who would be the most likely to benefit from a cigarette smokingcessation program. Identification of these people with proper screening methods might help us to pinpoint whowould benefit most from these programs.