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1.  Evaluation of the Lung Cancer Risks at Which to Screen Ever- and Never-Smokers: Screening Rules Applied to the PLCO and NLST Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001764.
Martin Tammemägi and colleagues evaluate which risk groups of individuals, including nonsmokers and high-risk individuals from 65 to 80 years of age, should be screened for lung cancer using computed tomography.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Lung cancer risks at which individuals should be screened with computed tomography (CT) for lung cancer are undecided. This study's objectives are to identify a risk threshold for selecting individuals for screening, to compare its efficiency with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) criteria for identifying screenees, and to determine whether never-smokers should be screened. Lung cancer risks are compared between smokers aged 55–64 and ≥65–80 y.
Methods and Findings
Applying the PLCOm2012 model, a model based on 6-y lung cancer incidence, we identified the risk threshold above which National Lung Screening Trial (NLST, n = 53,452) CT arm lung cancer mortality rates were consistently lower than rates in the chest X-ray (CXR) arm. We evaluated the USPSTF and PLCOm2012 risk criteria in intervention arm (CXR) smokers (n = 37,327) of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). The numbers of smokers selected for screening, and the sensitivities, specificities, and positive predictive values (PPVs) for identifying lung cancers were assessed. A modified model (PLCOall2014) evaluated risks in never-smokers. At PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, the 65th percentile of risk, the NLST CT arm mortality rates are consistently below the CXR arm's rates. The number needed to screen to prevent one lung cancer death in the 65th to 100th percentile risk group is 255 (95% CI 143 to 1,184), and in the 30th to <65th percentile risk group is 963 (95% CI 291 to −754); the number needed to screen could not be estimated in the <30th percentile risk group because of absence of lung cancer deaths. When applied to PLCO intervention arm smokers, compared to the USPSTF criteria, the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold selected 8.8% fewer individuals for screening (p<0.001) but identified 12.4% more lung cancers (sensitivity 80.1% [95% CI 76.8%–83.0%] versus 71.2% [95% CI 67.6%–74.6%], p<0.001), had fewer false-positives (specificity 66.2% [95% CI 65.7%–66.7%] versus 62.7% [95% CI 62.2%–63.1%], p<0.001), and had higher PPV (4.2% [95% CI 3.9%–4.6%] versus 3.4% [95% CI 3.1%–3.7%], p<0.001). In total, 26% of individuals selected for screening based on USPSTF criteria had risks below the threshold PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Of PLCO former smokers with quit time >15 y, 8.5% had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. None of 65,711 PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151. Risks and lung cancers were significantly greater in PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 y than in those aged 55–64 y. This study omitted cost-effectiveness analysis.
The USPSTF criteria for CT screening include some low-risk individuals and exclude some high-risk individuals. Use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 criterion can improve screening efficiency. Currently, never-smokers should not be screened. Smokers aged ≥65–80 y are a high-risk group who may benefit from screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the world and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells acquire genetic changes that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The most common trigger for these genetic changes in lung cancer is exposure to cigarette smoke. Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough and breathlessness. If lung cancer is diagnosed when it is confined to the lung (stage I), the tumor can often be removed surgically. Stage II tumors, which have spread into nearby lymph nodes, are usually treated with surgery plus chemotherapy or radiotherapy. For more advanced lung cancers that have spread throughout the chest (stage III) or the body (stage IV), surgery is rarely helpful and these tumors are treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy alone. Overall, because most lung cancers are not detected until they are advanced, less than 17% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive for five years.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening for lung cancer—looking for early disease in healthy people—could save lives. In the US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), annual screening with computed tomography (CT) reduced lung cancer mortality by 20% among smokers at high risk of developing cancer compared with screening with a chest X-ray. But what criteria should be used to decide who is screened for lung cancer? The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), for example, recommends annual CT screening of people who are 55–80 years old, have smoked 30 or more pack-years (one pack-year is defined as a pack of cigarettes per day for one year), and—if they are former smokers—quit smoking less than 15 years ago. However, some experts think lung cancer risk prediction models—statistical models that estimate risk based on numerous personal characteristics—should be used to select people for screening. Here, the researchers evaluate PLCOm2012, a lung cancer risk prediction model based on the incidence of lung cancer among smokers enrolled in the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). Specifically, the researchers use NLST and PLCO screening trial data to identify a PLCOm2012 risk threshold for selecting people for screening and to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 model and the USPSTF criteria for identifying “screenees.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By analyzing NLST data, the researchers calculated that at PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, mortality (death) rates among NLST participants screened with CT were consistently below mortality rates among NLST participants screened with chest X-ray and that 255 people with a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 would need to be screened to prevent one lung cancer death. Next, they used data collected from smokers in the screened arm of the PLCO trial to compare the efficiency of the PLCOm2012 and USPSTF criteria for identifying screenees. They found that 8.8% fewer people had a PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 than met USPSTF criteria for screening, but 12.4% more lung cancers were identified. Thus, using PLCOm2012 improved the sensitivity and specificity of the selection of individuals for lung cancer screening over using UPSTF criteria. Notably, 8.5% of PLCO former smokers with quit times of more than 15 years had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, none of the PLCO never-smokers had PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151, and the calculated risks and incidence of lung cancer were greater among PLCO smokers aged ≥65–80 years than among those aged 55–64 years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the absence of a cost-effectiveness analysis in this study, these findings suggest that the use of the PLCOm2012 risk ≥0.0151 threshold rather than USPSTF criteria for selecting individuals for lung cancer screening could improve screening efficiency. The findings have several other important implications. First, these findings suggest that screening may be justified in people who stopped smoking more than 15 years ago; USPSTF currently recommends that screening stop once an individual's quit time exceeds 15 years. Second, these findings do not support lung cancer screening among never-smokers. Finally, these findings suggest that smokers aged ≥65–80 years might benefit from screening, although the presence of additional illnesses and reduced life expectancy need to be considered before recommending the provision of routine lung cancer screening to this section of the population.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about all aspects of lung cancer for patients and health-care professionals, including information on lung cancer screening (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides detailed information about lung cancer and about lung cancer screening
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a page on lung cancer that includes personal stories
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Information about the USPSTF recommendations for lung cancer screening is available
PMCID: PMC4251899  PMID: 25460915
2.  Consumer awareness and attitudes related to new potential reduced-exposure tobacco product brands 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2009;11(7):886-895.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of potential reduced-exposure tobacco products (PREPs) marketed that claim to be less harmful or less addictive, compared with conventional cigarettes. Tobacco control scientists have raised concerns about the potential adverse impact of marketing of these products for smoking prevention and cessation efforts. Although these products have not been widely used among smokers, there are few data available on consumers’ awareness and attitudes toward these products.
Data were obtained from the 2003 and 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, a nationally representative telephone survey of adults 18 years and older regarding health communication and associated beliefs and behaviors. Our study population consisted of 6,369 respondents in 2003 and 5,586 respondents in 2005, of whom 19% were current smokers and 28% were former smokers.
In 2005, 45% of respondents had heard of at least one PREP product, while only 4.8% had actually tried one. Awareness and use were substantially higher among current smokers (55.6% and 12.7%). Awareness was highest for Marlboro Ultra Smooth (MUS) (30.2%), Eclipse (18.2%), Quest (7.8%), and Ariva (5.4%), while less than 2% for any other product. Of respondents who had tried a PREP, 50% cited harm reduction or assistance in quitting as a reason for trying the product and 30% believed that the product was less harmful than their usual brand. In the combined 2003 and 2005 dataset, 54.4% of current smokers stated that they would be “very” or “somewhat” interested in trying a cigarette advertised as less harmful, while only 3.2% of former smokers and 1.1% of never-smokers were interested. Among current smokers, interest was higher in females and non-Hispanic Whites, and among daily smokers, those who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day and those who were not considering quitting. Smokers interested in PREPs were substantially more likely to rate their perceived lung cancer risk as high (40.3% vs. 8.3%) and to worry frequently about developing lung cancer (19.7% vs. 4%).
These results suggest that there is a substantial level of interest among current smokers in cigarettes marketed with claims of reduced exposure or harm. Of particular concern is that “health conscious” smokers and heavy smokers not planning to quit may be especially vulnerable to PREP marketing messages and view such products as an alternative to smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC2722238  PMID: 19541949
3.  Current and Former Smoking and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001515.
In a meta-analysis of 32 observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 events, Suhua Wu and colleagues found that current, ever, and former smoking was associated with risk of venous thromboembolism.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, but its role as an independent risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize all published prospective studies and case-control studies to update the risk for VTE in smokers and determine whether a dose–response relationship exists.
Methods and Findings
We performed a literature search using MEDLINE (source PubMed, January 1, 1966 to June 15, 2013) and EMBASE (January 1, 1980 to June 15, 2013) with no restrictions. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by using random-effects meta-analysis. Thirty-two observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 VTE events were identified. Compared with never smokers, the overall combined relative risks (RRs) for developing VTE were 1.17 (95% CI 1.09–1.25) for ever smokers, 1.23 (95% CI 1.14–1.33) for current smokers, and 1.10 (95% CI 1.03–1.17) for former smokers, respectively. The risk increased by 10.2% (95% CI 8.6%–11.8%) for every additional ten cigarettes per day smoked or by 6.1% (95% CI 3.8%–8.5%) for every additional ten pack-years. Analysis of 13 studies adjusted for body mass index (BMI) yielded a relatively higher RR (1.30; 95% CI 1.24–1.37) for current smokers. The population attributable fractions of VTE were 8.7% (95% CI 4.8%–12.3%) for ever smoking, 5.8% (95% CI 3.6%–8.2%) for current smoking, and 2.7% (95% CI 0.8%–4.5%) for former smoking. Smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 (95% CI 15.4–26.7) cases per 100,000 person-years.
Cigarette smoking is associated with a slightly increased risk for VTE. BMI appears to be a confounding factor in the risk estimates. The relationship between VTE and smoking has clinical relevance with respect to individual screening, risk factor modification, and the primary and secondary prevention of VTE.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Blood normally flows throughout the human body, supplying its organs and tissues with oxygen and nutrients. But, when an injury occurs, proteins called clotting factors make the blood gel (coagulate) at the injury site. The resultant clot (thrombus) plugs the wound and prevents blood loss. Occasionally, a thrombus forms inside an uninjured blood vessel and partly or completely blocks the blood flow. Clot formation inside one of the veins deep within the body, usually in a leg, is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected limb. DVT can be treated with drugs that stop the blood clot from getting larger (anticoagulants) but, if left untreated, part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. DVT and pulmonary embolism are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Risk factors for VTE include having an inherited blood clotting disorder, oral contraceptive use, prolonged inactivity (for example, during a long-haul plane flight), and having surgery. VTEs are present in about a third of all people who die in hospital and, in non-bedridden populations, about 10% of people die within 28 days of a first VTE event.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some but not all studies have reported that smoking is also a risk factor for VTE. A clear demonstration of a significant association (a relationship unlikely to have occurred by chance) between smoking and VTE might help to reduce the burden of VTE because smoking can potentially be reduced by encouraging individuals to quit smoking and through taxation policies and other measures designed to reduce tobacco consumption. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers examine the link between smoking and the risk of VTE in the general population and investigate whether heavy smokers have a higher risk of VTE than light smokers. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 32 observational studies (investigations that record a population's baseline characteristics and subsequent disease development) that provided data on smoking and VTE. Together, the studies involved nearly 4 million participants and recorded 35,151 VTE events. Compared with never smokers, ever smokers (current and former smokers combined) had a relative risk (RR) of developing VTE of 1.17. That is, ever smokers were 17% more likely to develop VTE than never smokers. For current smokers and former smokers, RRs were 1.23 and 1.10, respectively. Analysis of only studies that adjusted for body mass index (a measure of body fat and a known risk factor for conditions that affect the heart and circulation) yielded a slightly higher RR (1.30) for current smokers compared with never smokers. For ever smokers, the population attributable fraction (the proportional reduction in VTE that would accrue in the population if no one smoked) was 8.7%. Notably, the risk of VTE increased by 10.2% for every additional ten cigarettes smoked per day and by 6.1% for every additional ten pack-years. Thus, an individual who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years had a 26.7% higher risk of developing VTE than someone who had never smoked. Finally, smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 cases of VTE per 100,000 person-years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that cigarette smoking is associated with a statistically significant, slightly increased risk for VTE among the general population and reveal a dose-relationship between smoking and VTE risk. They cannot prove that smoking causes VTE—people who smoke may share other unknown characteristics (confounding factors) that are actually responsible for their increased risk of VTE. Indeed, these findings identify body mass index as a potential confounding factor that might affect the accuracy of estimates of the association between smoking and VTE risk. Although the risk of VTE associated with smoking is smaller than the risk associated with some well-established VTE risk factors, smoking is more common (globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers) and may act synergistically with some of these risk factors. Thus, smoking behavior should be considered when screening individuals for VTE and in the prevention of first and subsequent VTE events.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on deep vein thrombosis (including an animation about how DVT causes pulmonary embolism), and information on pulmonary embolism
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information on deep vein thrombosis, including personal stories, and on pulmonary embolism; SmokeFree is a website provided by the UK National Health Service that offers advice on quitting smoking
The non-profit organization US National Blood Clot Alliance provides detailed information about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism for patients and professionals and includes a selection of personal stories about these conditions
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages), from the US National Cancer Institute, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
MedlinePlus has links to further information about deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and the dangers of smoking (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3775725  PMID: 24068896
4.  Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e185.
Better information on lung cancer occurrence in lifelong nonsmokers is needed to understand gender and racial disparities and to examine how factors other than active smoking influence risk in different time periods and geographic regions.
Methods and Findings
We pooled information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies, representing over 630,000 and 1.8 million persons for incidence and mortality, respectively. We also abstracted population-based data for women from 22 cancer registries and ten countries in time periods and geographic regions where few women smoked. Our main findings were: (1) Men had higher death rates from lung cancer than women in all age and racial groups studied; (2) male and female incidence rates were similar when standardized across all ages 40+ y, albeit with some variation by age; (3) African Americans and Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not in the US) had higher death rates from lung cancer than individuals of European descent; (4) no temporal trends were seen when comparing incidence and death rates among US women age 40–69 y during the 1930s to contemporary populations where few women smoke, or in temporal comparisons of never-smokers in two large American Cancer Society cohorts from 1959 to 2004; and (5) lung cancer incidence rates were higher and more variable among women in East Asia than in other geographic areas with low female smoking.
These comprehensive analyses support claims that the death rate from lung cancer among never-smokers is higher in men than in women, and in African Americans and Asians residing in Asia than in individuals of European descent, but contradict assertions that risk is increasing or that women have a higher incidence rate than men. Further research is needed on the high and variable lung cancer rates among women in Pacific Rim countries.
Michael Thun and colleagues pooled and analyzed comprehensive data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than 1.4 million people die from lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the US alone, more than 161,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes in their genes. The main trigger for these changes in lung cancer is exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke—either directly through smoking cigarettes or indirectly through exposure to secondhand smoke. Eighty-five to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and, on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers). Furthermore, a person's cumulative lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is related to how much they smoke, to how many years they are a smoker, and—if they give up smoking—to the age at which they stop smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because lung cancer is so common, even the small fraction of lung cancer that occurs in lifelong nonsmokers represents a large number of people. For example, about 20,000 of this year's US lung cancer deaths will be in never-smokers. However, very little is known about how age, sex, or race affects the incidence (the annual number of new cases of diseases in a population) or death rates from lung cancer among never-smokers. A better understanding of the patterns of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers could provide useful information about the factors other than cigarette smoke that increase the likelihood of not only never-smokers, but also former smokers and current smokers developing lung cancer. In this study, therefore, the researchers pooled and analyzed a large amount of information about lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among nearly 2.5 million self-reported never smokers (men and women) from 13 large studies investigating the health of people in North America, Europe, and Asia. They also analyzed similar information for women taken from cancer registries in ten countries at times when very few women were smokers (for example, the US in the late 1930s). The researchers' detailed statistical analyses reveal, for example, that lung cancer death rates in African Americans and in Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not among Asians living in the US) are higher than those in people of the European continental ancestry group. They also show that men have higher death rates from lung cancer than women irrespective of racial group, but that women aged 40–59 years have a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer than men of a similar age. This difference disappears at older ages. Finally, an analysis of lung cancer incidence and death rates at different times during the past 70 years shows no evidence of an increase in the lung cancer burden among never smokers over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some of the findings described above have been hinted at in previous, smaller studies, these and other findings provide a much more accurate picture of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers. Most importantly the underlying data used in these analyses are now freely available and should provide an excellent resource for future studies of lung cancer in never smokers.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of lung cancer and information on smoking and cancer (in English and Spanish)
Links to other US-based resources dealing with lung cancer are provided by MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides key facts about the link between lung cancer and smoking and information about all other aspects of lung cancer
PMCID: PMC2531137  PMID: 18788891
5.  Patient willingness and barriers to receiving a CT scan for lung cancer screening 
CT scans are becoming a more common method for detecting lung cancers at an earlier, potentially more curable, stage of disease. There is currently little data on attitudes and beliefs about screening for lung cancer. This paper presents the results of a 2011 survey of adult current and former smokers that queried about past use of CT scanning and reasons for having or not having the screening done. A random-digit dialed telephone survey was administered to a representative sample of 1,290 US adults. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the correlates of having the test while controlling for the covariates. A total of 13.4% (n=45) of the sample had ever had a CT scan to detect lung cancer. Of current smokers, 14.6% had received a CT scan, as compared with 12.7% of former smokers. The oldest age group (55+) was significantly more likely to have received a CT scan than the younger age groups. 78.5% of current smokers and 81.4% of former smokers indicated willingness to get the test if advised to do so by their doctor. Among those who said they were not willing to get screened, lack of insurance coverage was cited by 33% of current smokers and 25% of former smokers. Additionally, 33% of current smokers were afraid to find out whether they had cancer. The main barrier to CT scanning for lung cancer is likely to be insurance coverage for the test, which would be a burden for those on limited and fixed incomes. Next steps should include further research into the effect of increased public education about the availability, risks, benefits and barriers to lung cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC4327769  PMID: 24674155
lung cancer; barriers to screening
6.  Lung cancer trends: smoking, obesity, and sex assessed in the Staten Island University’s lung cancer patients 
The incidence of lung cancer in the United States decreased by 1.8% from 1991 to 2005 while it increased by 0.5% in females. We assessed whether nonsmokers afflicted with lung cancer at Staten Island University Hospital are disproportionately female in comparison to national averages. We also evaluated different factors including race, histology, and body mass index (BMI) in correlation with smoking history.
A retrospective chart review was conducted from 2005 to 2011 on 857 patients. Patients were divided into two groups according to their smoking status: current or ever-smokers, and former or never-smokers. A chi-square test for categorical data and multivariate logistic regression analyses was used to study the relation between BMI and the other clinical and demographic data.
Forty-nine percent of patients were men and 51% were women with a mean age at diagnosis of 67.8 years. Current smokers were most common (50.2%) followed by ever-smokers (18.2%), former smokers (15.8%) and never-smokers (15.6%). Forty eight percent had stage IV lung cancer upon presentation. Never-smokers with lung cancer were 24 times more likely to be females. However, the proportion of female former smokers (31.6%) was lower than the proportion of male former smokers (68.4%) (P=0.001). There was no significant association between American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage, sex, race, and histological type in the two smoking groups. Current/ever-smokers tended to be younger at age of diagnosis (P=0.0003). BMI was lower in the current/ever-smokers (26.8 kg/m2) versus former/never-smokers (28.8) in males (P=0.0005). BMI was significantly higher in males (30.26) versus females (25.25) in the never-smoker category (P=0.004). Current smokers, compared to others, had a lower BMI in males (26.4 versus 28.3; P=0.0001) and females (25.5 versus 26.9; P=0.013) but the mean BMI for all groups was in the overweight/obese range.
Our population of lung cancer patients although demographically distinct, reflects a similar proportion of afflicted nonsmokers to the national population. Smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer, but there is also a possible direct correlation with BMI that would support obesity as a potential risk factor for lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4085324  PMID: 25061333
lung; cancer; smoking; obesity; BMI; Staten Island
7.  The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK 
Lancet  2013;381(9861):133-141.
Women born around 1940 in countries such as the UK and USA were the first generation in which many smoked substantial numbers of cigarettes throughout adult life. Hence, only in the 21st century can we observe directly the full effects of prolonged smoking, and of prolonged cessation, on mortality among women in the UK.
For this prospective study, 1·3 million UK women were recruited in 1996–2001 and resurveyed postally about 3 and 8 years later. All were followed to Jan 1, 2011, through national mortality records (mean 12 woman-years, SD 2). Participants were asked at entry whether they were current or ex-smokers, and how many cigarettes they currently smoked. Those who were ex-smokers at both entry and the 3-year resurvey and had stopped before the age of 55 years were categorised by the age they had stopped smoking. We used Cox regression models to obtain adjusted relative risks that compared categories of smokers or ex-smokers with otherwise similar never-smokers.
After excluding 0·1 million women with previous disease, 1·2 million women remained, with median birth year 1943 (IQR 1938–46) and age 55 years (IQR 52–60). Overall, 6% (66 489/1 180 652) died, at mean age 65 years (SD 6). At baseline, 20% (232 461) were current smokers, 28% (328 417) were ex-smokers, and 52% (619 774) were never-smokers. For 12-year mortality, those smoking at baseline had a mortality rate ratio of 2·76 (95% CI 2·71–2·81) compared with never-smokers, even though 44% (37 240/85 256) of the baseline smokers who responded to the 8-year resurvey had by then stopped smoking. Mortality was tripled, largely irrespective of age, in those still smoking at the 3-year resurvey (rate ratio 2·97, 2·88–3·07). Even for women smoking fewer than ten cigarettes per day at baseline, 12-year mortality was doubled (rate ratio 1·98, 1·91–2·04). Of the 30 most common causes of death, 23 were increased significantly in smokers; for lung cancer, the rate ratio was 21·4 (19·7–23·2). The excess mortality among smokers (in comparison with never-smokers) was mainly from diseases that, like lung cancer, can be caused by smoking. Among ex-smokers who had stopped permanently at ages 25–34 years or at ages 35–44 years, the respective relative risks were 1·05 (95% CI 1·00–1·11) and 1·20 (1·14–1·26) for all-cause mortality and 1·84 (1·45–2·34) and 3·34 (2·76–4·03) for lung cancer mortality. Thus, although some excess mortality remains among these long-term ex-smokers, it is only 3% and 10% of the excess mortality among continuing smokers. If combined with 2010 UK national death rates, tripled mortality rates among smokers indicate 53% of smokers and 22% of never-smokers dying before age 80 years, and an 11-year lifespan difference.
Among UK women, two-thirds of all deaths of smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are caused by smoking; smokers lose at least 10 years of lifespan. Although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater. Stopping before age 40 years (and preferably well before age 40 years) avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking; stopping before age 30 years avoids more than 97% of it.
Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council.
PMCID: PMC3547248  PMID: 23107252
8.  Smoking and high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns: a case-control study 
Breast Cancer Research  1999;2(1):59-63.
Current smoking was strongly and inversely associated with high-risk patterns, after adjustment for concomitant risk factors. Relative to never smokers, current smokers were significantly less likely to have a high-risk pattern. Similar results were obtained when the analysis was confined to postmenopausal women. Past smoking was not related to the mammographic parenchymal patterns. The overall effect in postmenopausal women lost its significance when adjusted for other risk factors for P2/DY patterns that were found to be significant in the present study, although the results are still strongly suggestive. The present data indicate that adjustment for current smoking status is important when evaluating the relationship between mammographic parenchymal pattern and breast cancer risk. They also indicate that smoking is a prominent potential confounder when analyzing effects of other risk factors such as obesity-related variables. It appears that parenchymal patterns may act as an informative biomarker of the effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk.
Overall, epidemiological studies [1,2,3,4] have reported no substantial association between cigarette smoking and the risk of breast cancer. Some studies [5,6,7] reported a significant increase of breast cancer risk among smokers. In recent studies that addressed the association between breast cancer and cigarette smoking, however, there was some suggestion of a decreased risk [8,9,10], especially among current smokers, ranging from approximately 10 to 30% [9,10]. Brunet et al [11] reported that smoking might reduce the risk of breast cancer by 44% in carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Wolfe [12] described four different mammographic patterns created by variations in the relative amounts of fat, epithelial and connective tissue in the breast, designated N1, P1, P2 and DY. Women with either P2 or DY pattern are considered at greater risk for breast cancer than those with N1 or P1 pattern [12,13,14,15]. There are no published studies that assessed the relationship between smoking and mammographic parenchymal patterns.
To evaluate whether mammographic parenchymal patterns as classified by Wolfe, which have been positively associated with breast cancer risk, are affected by smoking. In this case-control study, nested within the European Prospective Investigation on Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) cohort [16], the association between smoking habits and mammographic parenchymal patterns are examined. The full results will be published elsewhere.
Study subjects were members of the EPIC cohort in Norwich who also attended the prevalence screening round at the Norwich Breast Screening Centre between November 1989 and December 1997, and were free of breast cancer at that screening. Cases were defined as women with a P2/DY Wolfe's mammographic parenchymal pattern on the prevalence screen mammograms. A total of 203 women with P2/DY patterns were identified as cases and were individually matched by date of birth (within 1 year) and date of prevalence screening (within 3 months) with 203 women with N1/P1 patterns who served as control individuals.
Two views, the mediolateral and craniocaudal mammograms, of both breasts were independently reviewed by two of the authors (ES and RW) to determine the Wolfe mammographic parenchymal pattern.
Considerable information on health and lifestyle factors was available from the EPIC Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire [16]. In the present study we examined the subjects' personal history of benign breast diseases, menstrual and reproductive factors, oral contraception and hormone replacement therapy, smoking, and anthropometric information such as body mass index and waist:hip ratio.
Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by conditional logistic regression [17], and were adjusted for possible confounding factors.
The characteristics of the cases and controls are presented in Table 1. Cases were leaner than controls. A larger percentage of cases were nulliparous, premenopausal, current hormone replacement therapy users, had a personal history of benign breast diseases, and had had a hysterectomy. A larger proportion of controls had more than three births and were current smokers.
Table 2 shows the unadjusted and adjusted OR estimates for Wolfe's high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns and smoking in the total study population and in postmenopausal women separately. Current smoking was strongly and inversely associated with high-risk patterns, after adjustment for concomitant risk factors. Relative to never smokers, current smokers were significantly less likely to have a high-risk pattern (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14-0.94). Similar results were obtained when the analysis was confined to postmenopausal women. Past smoking was not related to mammographic parenchymal patterns. The overall effect in postmenopausal women lost its significance when adjusted for other risk factors for P2/DY patterns that were found to be significant in the present study, although the results were still strongly suggestive. There was no interaction between cigarette smoking and body mass index.
In the present study we found a strong inverse relationship between current smoking and high-risk mammographic parenchymal patterns of breast tissue as classified by Wolfe [12]. These findings are not completely unprecedented; Greendale et al [18] found a reduced risk of breast density in association with smoking, although the magnitude of the reduction was unclear. The present findings suggest that this reduction is large.
Recent studies [9,10] have suggested that breast cancer risk may be reduced among current smokers. In a multicentre Italian case-control study, Braga et al [10] found that, relative to nonsmokers, current smokers had a reduced risk of breast cancer (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.7-1.0). These findings were recently supported by Gammon et al [9], who reported that breast cancer risk in younger women (younger than 45 years) may be reduced among current smokers who began smoking at an early age (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.41-0.85 for age 15 years or younger) and among long-term smokers (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.52-0.94 for those who had smoked for 21 years or more).
The possible protective effect of smoking might be due to its anti-oestrogenic effect [1,2,19]. Recently there has been renewed interest in the potential effect of smoking on breast cancer risk, and whether individuals may respond differently on the basis of differences in metabolism of bioproducts of smoking [20,21]. Different relationships between smoking and breast cancer risk have been suggested that are dependent on the rapid or slow status of acetylators of aromatic amines [20,21]. More recent studies [22,23], however, do not support these findings.
The present study design minimized the opportunity for bias to influence the findings. Because subjects were unaware of their own case-control status, the possibility of recall bias in reporting smoking status was minimized. Systematic error in the assessment of mammograms was avoided because reading was done without knowledge of the risk factor data. Furthermore, the associations observed are unlikely to be explained by the confounding effect of other known breast cancer risk factors, because we adjusted for these in the analysis. We did not have information on passive smoking status, however, which has recently been reported to be a possible confounder [5,6,21,24].
The present data indicate that adjustment for current smoking status is important when evaluating the relationship between mammographic parenchymal pattern and breast cancer risk. They also indicate smoking as a prominent potential confounder when analyzing effects of other risk factors such as obesity-related variables. It seems that parenchymal patterns may act as an informative biomarker of the effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC13911  PMID: 11056684
mammography; screening; smoking; Wolfe's parenchymal patterns
9.  Illness Representations of Lung Cancer, Lung Cancer Worry, and Perceptions of Risk by Smoking Status 
We examined perceived risk, worry, and illness representations of lung cancer by smoking status using data from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (n=1,765). Perceived lung cancer risk was rated “very high” more frequently by current (15.2%) than former (1.9%) and never (1.6%) smokers. Current smokers more frequently reported worry about lung cancer (18.4%) than former (3.1%) and never smokers (1.8%). Confusion about lung cancer prevention was higher among current (55.2%) than former (41.3%) or never smokers (38.2%). Agreement that lung cancer is caused by a person’s behavior was higher among never (86.1%) and former (82.6%) than current smokers (75.4%). In multivariable models, never (OR=.07) and former smokers (OR=.16) were less likely than current smokers to perceive their lung cancer risk as high. Never smokers (OR=.21) were significantly less likely than current smokers to report worrying about lung cancer, while former and current smokers did not differ.
PMCID: PMC4251766  PMID: 21688184
Smoking; Lung cancer worry; Risk perceptions
10.  Assessing beliefs and risk perceptions on smoking and smoking cessation in immigrant Chinese adult smokers residing in Vancouver, Canada: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(2):e006435.
We aimed to conduct culturally-based participatory research to assess cultural and belief contexts for smoking behaviours within Mandarin and Cantonese communities. Outcome variables were smoking-related knowledge, smoking patterns, attitudes and beliefs, and perceived barriers and facilitators to successful cessation.
A community-based approach was applied involving smokers, community key-informants and professionals in study design and implementation. Initially, focus groups were conducted and findings were used to develop study instrument. Participants responded once to study questionnaire after informed consent.
Community based in the Greater Vancouver Area, Canada.
16 Chinese smokers participated in focus groups and subsequently, 167 current Chinese immigrant (137 males and 30 females) smokers from Mandarin and Cantonese communities, recruited with the help of community agencies and collaborating physicians, were enrolled in a cross-sectional study.
We found that a majority believed smoking was harmful on their health. Younger smokers (<35 years of age) did not mind smoking in front of young children compared to older smokers (≥35 years of age) (p<0.001). People with high school or lower levels of education believed that they would benefit more from smoking than suffering from withdrawal symptoms compared to better educated smokers (p<0.05). Mandarin smokers were significantly more likely to encourage others to quit than Cantonese smokers (p<0.05). Many indicated not receiving adequate support from care providers and lack of access to culturally and linguistically appropriate cessation programmes impacted on their ability to quit smoking.
Our study highlighted the importance of tobacco beliefs and perceptions among Mandarin and Cantonese speaking immigrants with limited access to healthcare information and for younger smokers whose attention to health consequences of smoking may be limited as well. Study participants were generally aware of the health risks and were willing to quit. Access to appropriate cessation programmes would fulfil their willingness.
PMCID: PMC4322197  PMID: 25649211
11.  Driver Mutations Determine Survival in Smokers and Never Smokers with Stage IIIB/IV Lung Adenocarcinomas 
Cancer  2012;118(23):5840-5847.
We previously demonstrated that stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) never smokers lived 50% longer than former/current smokers. This observation persisted after adjusting for age, performance status, and gender. We hypothesized that smoking-dependent differences in the distribution of driver mutations might explain differences in prognosis between these subgroups.
We reviewed 293 never smokers and 382 former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinoma who underwent testing for EGFR and KRAS mutations and rearrangements in ALK between 2009 and 2010. Clinical outcomes and patient characteristics were collected. Survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Group comparison was performed with log-rank tests and Cox proportional hazards methods.
While the overall incidence of these mutations was nearly identical (55% never smokers vs. 57% current/former smokers, p=0.48), there were significant differences in the distribution of mutations between these groups: EGFR mutations- 37% never smokers vs. 14% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); KRAS mutations- 4% never smokers vs. 43% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); ALK rearrangements- 12% never smokers vs. 2% former/current smokers (p<0.0001). Among never smokers and former/current smokers, prognosis differed significantly by genotype. Patients harboring KRAS mutations demonstrated the poorest survival. Smoking status, however, had no influence on survival within each genotype.
Never smokers and former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinomas are not homogeneous subgroups. Each is made up of individuals whose tumors have a unique distribution of driver mutations which are associated with different prognoses, irrespective of smoking history.
PMCID: PMC3424296  PMID: 22605530
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; EGFR; KRAS; ALK; never smoker
12.  Different measures of smoking exposure and mammographic density in postmenopausal Norwegian women: a cross-sectional study 
Recent cohort studies have suggested an increased risk of breast cancer with long duration of smoking, and with smoking initiation before first birth. Cigarette smoking may have both carcinogenic effects and antiestrogenic effects on the breast tissue. We decided to examine the relationship between different measures of smoking exposure and mammographic density.
Lifetime smoking history was collected through interview and questionnaires among 907 postmenopausal participants in the Tromsø Mammography and Breast Cancer study. The mammograms were obtained from the governmental Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program. Mammograms were classified according to the percentage and absolute mammographic densities using a previously validated computer-assisted method.
Sixty-five percent of the women reported having ever smoked cigarettes, while 34% were current smokers. After adjustment for age, age at first birth, parity, age at menopause, postmenopausal hormone therapy use, and body mass index, smoking was inversely associated with both measures of mammographic density (both trends P < 0.01). Both current smokers and former smokers had significantly lower adjusted mean percentage mammographic density compared with never smokers (P = 0.003 and P = 0.006, respectively). An inverse dose–response relationship with mammographic density was found between both the number of cigarettes and the number of pack-years smoked among current smokers. Current smokers who smoked 11 cigarettes or more daily had a 3.7% absolute (36% relative difference) lower percentage mammographic density compared with current smokers who smoked seven cigarettes or less daily (P = 0.008). When former smokers were stratified according to time since smoking cessation, we found that women who had stopped smoking less than 24 years ago had a significantly lower mean percentage mammographic density compared with never smokers (P < 0.001).
We found modest inverse dose–response associations between numbers of cigarettes and of pack-years smoked and both measures of mammographic density among current smokers. Former smokers who had stopped smoking less than 24 years ago also had a statistically significantly lower mean percentage mammographic density when compared with never smokers. These findings are consistent with an antiestrogenic effect of cigarette smoking on the breast tissue.
PMCID: PMC2242671  PMID: 17963507
13.  Non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers: a clinical entity to be identified 
Clinics  2011;66(11):1873-1877.
It has been recognized that patients with non-small cell lung cancer who are lifelong never-smokers constitute a distinct clinical entity. The aim of this study was to assess clinical risk factors for survival among never-smokers with non-small cell lung cancer.
All consecutive non-small cell lung cancer patients diagnosed (n = 285) between May 2005 and May 2009 were included. The clinical characteristics of never-smokers and ever-smokers (former and current) were compared using chi-squared or Student's t tests. Survival curves were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and log-rank tests were used for survival comparisons. A Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was evaluated by adjusting for age (continuous variable), gender (female vs. male), smoking status (never- vs. ever-smoker), the Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (continuous variable), histological type (adenocarcinoma vs. non-adenocarcinoma), AJCC staging (early vs. advanced staging), and treatment (chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy vs. the best treatment support).
Of the 285 non-small cell lung cancer patients, 56 patients were never-smokers. Univariate analyses indicated that the never-smoker patients were more likely to be female (68% vs. 32%) and have adenocarcinoma (70% vs. 51%). Overall median survival was 15.7 months (95% CI: 13.2 to 18.2). The never-smoker patients had a better survival rate than their counterpart, the ever-smokers. Never-smoker status, higher Karnofsky Performance Status, early staging, and treatment were independent and favorable prognostic factors for survival after adjusting for age, gender, and adenocarcinoma in multivariate analysis.
Epidemiological differences exist between never- and ever-smokers with lung cancer. Overall survival among never-smokers was found to be higher and independent of gender and histological type.
PMCID: PMC3203958  PMID: 22086516
Lung neoplasm; Non-small cell lung cancer; Adenocarcinoma; Never-smoker; Smoking
14.  Heterogeneity among smokers and non-smokers in attitudes and behaviour regarding smoking and smoking restrictions 
Tobacco Control  2000;9(4):364-371.
OBJECTIVE—To determine if smokers and non-smokers cluster into meaningful, discrete subgroups with distinguishable attitudes and behaviours regarding smoking and smoking restrictions.
DESIGN—Qualitative research with 45 smokers guided development of questionnaire items applied in a population based telephone survey of 432 current smokers and 1332 non-smokers in Ontario, Canada.
METHODS—Cluster analysis of questionnaire items used to categorise adult smokers and non-smokers; comparison of clusters on sociodemographic characteristics and composite knowledge and attitude scores.
RESULTS—Smokers clustered in three groups. "Reluctant" smokers (16%) show more concern about other people discovering that they smoke, but parallel "easygoing" smokers (42%) in supporting restrictions on smoking and not smoking around others. "Adamant" smokers (42%) feel restrictions have gone too far, and are less likely to accommodate non-smokers. Significant gradients across categories in the expected direction were observed with respect to smoking status, stage of change, knowledge, and attitude scores, and predicted compliance with restrictions, validating the proposed typology. Non-smokers also clustered into three groups, of which the "adamant" non-smokers (45%) are the least favourably disposed to smoking. "Unempowered" non-smokers (34%) also oppose smoking, but tend not to act on it. "Laissez-faire" non-smokers (21%) are less opposed to smoking in both attitude and behaviour. A significant gradient across categories in the expected direction was observed with respect to composite scores regarding knowledge of the health effects of active and passive smoking and a composite score on support for restrictions on smoking in public places.
CONCLUSION—Recognition and consideration of the types of smokers and non-smokers in the population and their distinguishing characteristics could inform the development of tobacco control policies and programmes and suggest strategies to assist implementation.

Keywords: smokers; non-smokers; attitudes; smoking restrictions; typology; cluster
PMCID: PMC1748400  PMID: 11106705
15.  Relation between smoking history and gene expression profiles in lung adenocarcinomas 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:22.
Lung cancer is the worldwide leading cause of death from cancer. Tobacco usage is the major pathogenic factor, but all lung cancers are not attributable to smoking. Specifically, lung cancer in never-smokers has been suggested to represent a distinct disease entity compared to lung cancer arising in smokers due to differences in etiology, natural history and response to specific treatment regimes. However, the genetic aberrations that differ between smokers and never-smokers’ lung carcinomas remain to a large extent unclear.
Unsupervised gene expression analysis of 39 primary lung adenocarcinomas was performed using Illumina HT-12 microarrays. Results from unsupervised analysis were validated in six external adenocarcinoma data sets (n=687), and six data sets comprising normal airway epithelial or normal lung tissue specimens (n=467). Supervised gene expression analysis between smokers and never-smokers were performed in seven adenocarcinoma data sets, and results validated in the six normal data sets.
Initial unsupervised analysis of 39 adenocarcinomas identified two subgroups of which one harbored all never-smokers. A generated gene expression signature could subsequently identify never-smokers with 79-100% sensitivity in external adenocarcinoma data sets and with 76-88% sensitivity in the normal materials. A notable fraction of current/former smokers were grouped with never-smokers. Intriguingly, supervised analysis of never-smokers versus smokers in seven adenocarcinoma data sets generated similar results. Overlap in classification between the two approaches was high, indicating that both approaches identify a common set of samples from current/former smokers as potential never-smokers. The gene signature from unsupervised analysis included several genes implicated in lung tumorigenesis, immune-response associated pathways, genes previously associated with smoking, as well as marker genes for alveolar type II pneumocytes, while the best classifier from supervised analysis comprised genes strongly associated with proliferation, but also genes previously associated with smoking.
Based on gene expression profiling, we demonstrate that never-smokers can be identified with high sensitivity in both tumor material and normal airway epithelial specimens. Our results indicate that tumors arising in never-smokers, together with a subset of tumors from smokers, represent a distinct entity of lung adenocarcinomas. Taken together, these analyses provide further insight into the transcriptional patterns occurring in lung adenocarcinoma stratified by smoking history.
PMCID: PMC3447685  PMID: 22676229
Lung cancer; Smoking; Gene expression analysis; Adenocarcinoma; EGFR; Never-smokers; Immune response
16.  Factors Associated with Tobacco Smoking and Cessation among HIV-Infected Individuals under Care in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115900.
Worldwide the prevalence of smoking among people living with HIV/AIDS is elevated compared to the general population. This probably reflects the cluster of individual characteristics that have shared risk factors for HIV infection and smoking. A cross-sectional study, enrolling a convenience sample from a Brazilian HIV clinical cohort was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of tobacco smoking and the factors associated with current smoking and abstinence. A total of 2,775 HIV-infected individuals were interviewed: 46.2% have never smoked, 29.9% were current smokers and 23.9% were former smokers. Current smokers had a higher prevalence of alcohol and illicit drug use when compared to the other two groups. A higher proportion of heterosexual individuals were former smokers or never smokers while among men who have sex with men (MSM) a higher proportion were current smokers. Former smokers had been more frequently diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and depression, while for current smokers lung diseases were more frequent. Former smokers and current smokers were more likely to have had any hospital admission (42.0% and 41.2%, respectively) than participants who never smoked (33.5%) (p<0.001). Multivariate model results showed that current smokers (versus never smokers) were more likely to be less educated, to report the use of alcohol, crack and cocaine and to present clinical comorbidities. Former smokers (versus current smokers) were more likely to be older, to have smoked for a shorter amount of time and to have smoked >31 cigarettes/day. MSM (compared to heterosexuals) and cocaine users (versus non-users) had lower odds of being former smokers. Considering our results, smoking cessation interventions should be tailored to younger individuals, MSM and substance users.
PMCID: PMC4275249  PMID: 25536064
17.  Lung Cancer Risk Among Smokers of Menthol Cigarettes 
Menthol cigarettes, preferred by African American smokers, have been conjectured to be harder to quit and to contribute to the excess lung cancer burden among black men in the Unites States. However, data showing an association between smoking menthol cigarettes and increased lung cancer risk compared with smoking nonmenthol cigarettes are limited. The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes in the United States.
We conducted a prospective study among 85 806 racially diverse adults enrolled in the Southern Community Cohort Study during March 2002 to September 2009 according to cigarette smoking status, with smokers classified by preference for menthol vs nonmenthol cigarettes. Among 12 373 smokers who responded to a follow-up questionnaire, we compared rates of quitting between menthol and nonmenthol smokers. In a nested case–control analysis of 440 incident lung cancer case patients and 2213 matched control subjects, using logistic regression modeling we computed odds ratios (ORs) and accompanying 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of lung cancer incidence, and applied Cox proportional hazards modeling to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of lung cancer mortality, according to menthol preference.
Among both blacks and whites, menthol smokers reported smoking fewer cigarettes per day; an average of 1.6 (95% CI = 1.3 to 2.0) fewer for blacks and 1.8 (95% CI = 1.3 to 2.3) fewer for whites, compared with nonmenthol smokers. During an average of 4.3 years of follow-up, 21% of participants smoking at baseline had quit, with menthol and nonmenthol smokers having equal odds of quitting (OR = 1.02, 95% CI = 0.89 to 1.16). A lower lung cancer incidence was noted in menthol vs nonmenthol smokers (for smokers of <10, 10–19, and ≥20 cigarettes per day, compared with never smokers, OR = 5.0 vs 10.3, 8.7 vs 12.9, and 12.2 vs 21.1, respectively). These trends were mirrored for lung cancer mortality. In multivariable analyses adjusted for pack-years of smoking, menthol cigarettes were associated with a lower lung cancer incidence (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.47 to 0.90) and mortality (hazard ratio of mortality = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.95) than nonmenthol cigarettes.
The findings suggest that menthol cigarettes are no more, and perhaps less, harmful than nonmenthol cigarettes.
PMCID: PMC3096798  PMID: 21436064
18.  Cigarette smoking in British men and selection for coronary artery bypass surgery. 
Heart  1996;75(6):557-562.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation between smoking status, clinical need, and likelihood of coronary artery bypass grafting in middle aged men. DESIGN: A prospective study of cardiovascular disease in British men aged 40 to 59 years, screened in 1978-80 and followed until December 1991. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: 7735 men drawn from one general practice in each of 24 British towns. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Coronary artery bypass graft surgery. RESULTS: Of the 3185 current smokers, 38 (1.03/1000/year) underwent coronary artery bypass surgery compared with 47 of 2715 (1.45/1000/year) ex-smokers, and 19 of 1817 (0.85/1000/year) never-smokers. Ex-smokers had a lower incidence of major ischaemic heart disease during follow up than current smokers. After adjustment for incidence of ischaemic heart disease during follow up, the hazard ratio of coronary artery bypass surgery for ex-smokers compared with smokers was 1.52 (95% confidence interval 0.99 to 2.34). Ex-smokers were more likely at screening to recall a doctor diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease than smokers (7.1% v 5.3%), but among those who recalled a doctor diagnosis, smokers were less likely to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery than ex-smokers (9.4% v 3.5%, P = 0.026). By 1992, men defined as smokers at screening were no less likely than ex-smokers to have been referred to a cardiologist (18.5% v 18.8%), nor to report having undergone coronary angiography less frequently than ex-smokers (12.7% v 11.4%). CONCLUSION: Even allowing for the strong relation between coronary artery bypass surgery and clinical need, continuing smokers were less likely to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery than ex-smokers. A complex interplay exists between the men's experience of heart disease, the decision to stop smoking, and the willingness of doctors to consider coronary artery bypass surgery.
PMCID: PMC484376  PMID: 8697156
19.  Lower frequency of focal lip sialadenitis (focus score) in smoking patients. Can tobacco diminish the salivary gland involvement as judged by histological examination and anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La antibodies in Sjögren's syndrome? 
OBJECTIVES—Prospectively collected computer database information was previously assessed on a cohort of 300 patients who fulfilled the Copenhagen classification criteria for primary Sjögren's syndrome. Analysis of the clinical data showed that patients who smoked had a decreased lower lip salivary gland focus score (p<0.05). The aim of this original report is to describe the tobacco habits in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome or stomatitis sicca only and to determine if there is a correlation between smoking habits and focus score in lower lip biopsies as well as ciculating autoantibodies and IgG.
METHODS—All living patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome or stomatitis sicca only, who were still in contact with the Sjögren's Syndrome Research Centre were asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire concerning present and past smoking habits, which was compared with smoking habits in a sex and age matched control group (n=3700) from the general population. In addition, the patients previous lower lip biopsies were blindly re-evaluated and divided by the presence of focus score (focus score = number of lymphocyte foci per 4 mm2 glandular tissue) into those being normal (focus score ≤ 1) or abnormal (focus score > 1). Furthermore the cohort was divided into three groups; 10-45, 46-60 and ⩾ 61 years of age. Finally the focus score was related to the smoking habits. Seroimmunological (ANA; anti-SSA/Ro antibodies; anti-SSB/La antibodies; IgM-RF and IgG) samples were analysed routinely.
RESULTS—The questionnaire was answered by 98% (n=355) of the cohort and the percentage of current smokers, former smokers and historical non-smokers at the time of lower lip biopsy was not statistically different from that of the control group. Cigarette smoking at the time of lower lip biopsy is associated with lower risk of abnormal focus score (p<0.001; odds ratio 0.29, 95%CI 0.16 to 0.50). The odds ratio for having focal sialadenitis (focus score > 1) compared with having a non-focal sialadenitis or normal biopsy (focus score ⩽ 1) was decreased in all three age groups (10-45: odds ratio 0.27, 95%CI 0.11 to 0.71; 46-60: odds ratio 0.22, 95%CI 0.08 to 0.59; and ⩾ 61: odds ratio 0.36, 95%CI 0.10 to 1.43) although there was only statistical significance in the two younger age groups. Moreover, among current smokers at the time of the lower lip biopsy there was a decreasing odds ratio for an abnormal lip focus score with increasing number of cigarettes smoked per week (p trend 0.00). In the group of former smokers, which included patients that had stopped smoking up to 30 years ago, the results were in between those of the smokers and the historical non-smokers (odds ratio 0.57, 95%CI 0.34 to 0.97, compared with never smokers). Present or past smoking did not correlate with the function of the salivary glands as judged by unstimulated whole sialometry, stimulated whole sialometry or salivary gland scintigraphy. Among former smokers, the median time lapse between the first symptom of primary Sjögren's syndrome and the performance of the lower lip biopsy was approximately half as long as the median time lapse between smoking cessation and biopsy (8 versus 15 years). Hence, symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are unlikely to have had a significant influence on smoking habits at the time of the biopsy. Among the seroimmunological results only anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La antibodies reached statistical significance in a manner similar to the way smoking influenced the focus score in lower lip biopsies. On the other hand the level of significance was consistently more pronounced for the influence of smoking on the focus score than for the influence on anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La autoantibodies.
CONCLUSION—This is believed to be the first report showing that cigarette smoking is negatively associated with focal sialadenitis—focus score >1—in lower lip biopsy in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome. Furthermore, tobacco seems to decrease the focus score in a dose dependent manner. Smoking may also negatively influence the presence of anti-SSA/Ro and/or anti-SSB/La antibodies in circulating blood. Thus, smoking habits of patients might invalidate the use of both lower lip salivary gland focus score and of anti-SSA/anti-SSB antibodies. It is suggested that the simultaneous performance of other objective tests is required to avoid misdiagnosis of oral involvement in smoking and former smoking patients. Therefore, classification criteria for Sjögren's syndrome that more or less rely on an abnormal focus score and/or presence of anti-SSA/anti-SSB antibodies should be used with great caution.

PMCID: PMC1752994  PMID: 10627428
20.  Chinese Physicians and Their Smoking Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices 
China has the most smokers in the world. Physicians play a key role in smoking cessation but little is known about Chinese physicians and smoking.
This 2004 clustered randomized survey of 3552 hospital-based physicians from six Chinese cities measured smoking attitudes, knowledge, personal behavior, and cessation practices for patients. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of factors associated with asking about or advising against smoking were conducted in 2005 and 2006.
Smoking prevalence was 23% among all Chinese physicians, 41% for men and 1% for women. Only 30% report good implementation of smoke-free workplace policies and 37% of current smokers have smoked in front of their patients. Although 64% usually advise smokers to quit, only 48% usually ask about smoking status and 29% believe most smokers will follow their cessation advice. Less than 7% set quit dates or use pharmacotherapy when helping smokers quit. Although 95% and 89% respectively know active or passive smoking causes lung cancer, only 66% and 53% respectively know active or passive smoking causes heart disease. Physicians were significantly more likely to ask about or advise against smoking if they believed that counseling about health harms help smokers quit and that most smokers would follow smoking cessation advice.
Physician smoking cessation, smoke-free workplaces, and education on smoking cessation techniques need to be increased among Chinese physicians. Strengthening counseling skills may result in more Chinese physicians helping smoking patients to quit. These improvements can help reduce the Chinese and worldwide health burden from smoking.
PMCID: PMC2800817  PMID: 17572306
21.  Smoking and Prostate Cancer Survival and Recurrence 
Studies of smoking in relation to prostate cancer mortality or recurrence in prostate cancer patients are limited, with few prostate cancer-specific outcomes.
To assess the relation of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation with overall, prostate cancer-specific, and CVD mortality and biochemical recurrence among men with prostate cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Prospective observational study of 5 366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986–2006 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
Main Outcome Measures
Hazard ratios (HRs) for overall, prostate cancer-specific, and CVD mortality, and biochemical recurrence, defined by PSA rise.
We documented 1,630 deaths, 524 (32%) due to prostate cancer and 416 (26%) due to CVD, and 878 biochemical recurrences. The absolute crude rates for prostate cancer-specific death for never smokers vs. current smokers were 9.6 vs. 15.3 per 1,000 person-years; for all-cause mortality the corresponding rates were 27.3 and 53.0 per 1,000 person-years. In multivariable analysis, compared with never smokers, current smokers had an increased risk of prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.32 and among men with clinical stage T1–T3: HR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.04–3.12), biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.16–2.22), total mortality (HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.87–2.80), and CVD mortality (HR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.39–3.26). After adjusting for clinical stage and grade which are likely intermediates of the relation of smoking with prostate cancer recurrence and survival, the estimates for current smoking were as follows: prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.38; 95% CI, 0.94–2.03 and HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.80–2.49); biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.06–2.04). A greater number of pack-years was associated with a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer mortality but not biochemical recurrence: for current smokers of 40+ pack-years compared to never smokers: prostate cancer mortality (HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.03–3.20; biochemical recurrence (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 0.88–2.48). Compared to current smokers, those who had quit smoking for 10 or more years, or who had quit for less than 10 years but smoked less than 20 pack-years, had prostate cancer mortality risks similar to never smokers: former smoker, quit 10+ years (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42–0.87); quit <10 years and <20 pack-years (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.28–1.45); never smoker (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42–0.88).
Smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with increased overall and CVD mortality and prostate cancer-specific mortality and recurrence. 10-year quitters have prostate cancer-specific mortality risks similar to never smokers.
PMCID: PMC3562349  PMID: 21693743
22.  Smoking too few cigarettes to be at risk? Smokers' perceptions of risk and risk denial, a French survey 
Tobacco Control  2007;16(5):351-356.
Past studies on smokers' risk perception have produced mixed results. We endorsed a new approach to assess smokers' perceptions of risk by asking them to estimate threshold values for the cancer risk associated with daily consumption of tobacco and number of smoking years. We expected that many smokers would endorse a “risk denial” attitude, with threshold estimates higher than their own smoking consumption and duration.
A French national telephone survey (n = 3820; 979 current smokers) included several questions about smoking behaviours and related beliefs.
Among current smokers, 44% considered that smoking can cause cancer only for a daily consumption higher than their own consumption, and an additional 20% considered that the cancer risk becomes high only for a smoking duration higher than their own. Most smokers also agreed with other “risk denial” statements (“smoking is not more dangerous than air pollution,” “some people smoke their whole life but never get sick”). Those who considered they smoked too few cigarettes to be at risk were less likely to report personal fear of smoking related cancer.
Risk denial is quite widespread among smokers and does not simply reflect a lack of information about health risks related to tobacco. Fully informing smokers about their risks may necessitate changing the way they process information to produce beliefs and limiting their capacity to generate self exempting beliefs.
PMCID: PMC2598568  PMID: 17897995
risk perception; risk denial; cancer; France
23.  The risk of lung cancer with increasing time since ceasing exposure to asbestos and quitting smoking 
To examine if the risk of lung cancer declines with increasing time since ceasing exposure to asbestos and quitting smoking, and to determine the relative asbestos effect between non‐smokers and current smokers.
A cohort study of 2935 former workers of the crocidolite mine and mill at Wittenoom, who responded to a questionnaire on smoking first issued in 1979 and on whom quantitative estimates of asbestos exposure are known. Conditional logistic regression was used to relate asbestos exposure, smoking category, and risk of lung cancer.
Eighteen per cent of the cohort reported never smoking; 66% of cases and 50% of non‐cases were current smokers. Past smokers who ceased smoking within six years of the survey (OR = 22.1, 95% CI 5.6 to 87.0), those who ceased smoking 20 or more years before the survey (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 0.50 to 7.2), and current smokers (<20 cigarettes per day (OR = 6.8, 95% CI 2.0 to 22.7) or >20 cigarettes per day (OR = 13.2, 95% CI 4.1 to 42.5)) had higher risks of lung cancer compared to never smokers after adjusting for asbestos exposure and age. The asbestos effect between non‐smokers and current smokers was 1.23 (95% CI 0.35 to 4.32).
Persons exposed to asbestos and tobacco but who subsequently quit, remain at an increased risk for lung cancer up to 20 years after smoking cessation, compared to never smokers. Although the relative risk of lung cancer appears higher in never and ex‐smokers than in current smokers, those who both smoke and have been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk; this study emphasises the importance of smoking prevention and smoking cessation programmes within this high risk cohort.
PMCID: PMC2078130  PMID: 16849527
smoking cessation; asbestos; lung cancer; relative asbestos effect
24.  Lungs don’t forget: Comparison of the KRAS and EGFR mutation profile and survival of “collegiate smokers” and never smokers with advanced lung cancers 
We hypothesize that among patients with lung cancers the KRAS/EGFR mutation profile and overall survival of “collegiate smokers” (former smokers who smoked between 101 lifetime cigarettes and 5 pack years) are distinct from those of never smokers and former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years.
We collected age, sex, stage, survival, and smoking history for patients evaluated from 2004 to 2009 with advanced stage lung cancers and known KRAS/EGFR status. Mutation profile and overall survival were compared using Fisher’s exact test and log-rank test, respectively.
Data were available for 852 patients with advanced stage lung cancers with known KRAS/EGFR status. 6% were “collegiate smokers”, 36% were never smokers, and 30% were former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years. The mutation profile of “collegiate smokers” (15% KRAS mutations, 27% EGFR mutations) was distinct from those of never smokers (p < .001) and former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years (p < .001)and not significantly different from those of former smokers with 5 to 15 pack years (p = 0.9). Median overall survival for “collegiate smokers” was 25 months, compared to 32 months for never smokers (p = 0.4), 33 months for former smokers with 5–15 pack years (p = 0.48),and 21 months for former smokers with ≥ 15 pack years (p = 0.63).
“Collegiate smokers” with advanced stage lung cancers represent a distinct subgroup of patients with a higher frequency of KRAS mutations and lower frequency of EGFR mutations compared to never smokers. These observations reinforce the recommendation for routine mutation testing for all patients with lung cancers and that no degree of tobacco exposure is safe.
PMCID: PMC3534987  PMID: 23242442
Collegiate Smokers; non-small cell lung cancers; epidermal growth factor receptor mutation; KRAS mutation
25.  Smoking and use of primary care services: findings from a population-based cohort study linked with administrative claims data 
Available evidence suggests that smokers have a lower propensity than others to use primary care services. But previous studies have incorporated only limited adjustment for confounding and mediating factors such as income, access to services and health status. We used data from a large prospective cohort study (the 45 and Up Study), linked to administrative claims data, to quantify the relationship between smoking status and use of primary care services, including specific preventive services, in a contemporary Australian population.
Baseline questionnaire data from the 45 and Up Study were linked to administrative claims (Medicare) data for the 12-month period following study entry. The main outcome measures were Medicare benefit claimed for unreferred services, out-of-pocket costs (OOPC) paid, and claims for specific preventive services (immunisations, health assessments, chronic disease management services, PSA tests and Pap smears). Rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated using a hierarchical series of models, adjusted for predisposing, access- and health-related factors. Separate hurdle (two part) regression models were constructed for Medicare benefit and OOPC. Poisson models with robust error variance were used to model use of each specific preventive service.
Participants included 254,382 people aged 45 years and over of whom 7.3% were current smokers. After adjustment for predisposing, access- and health-related factors, current smokers were very slightly less likely to have claimed Medicare benefit than never smokers. Among those who claimed benefit, current smokers claimed similar total benefit, but recent quitters claimed significantly greater benefit, compared to never-smokers. Current smokers were around 10% less likely than never smokers to have paid any OOPC. Current smokers were 15-20% less likely than never smokers to use immunisations, Pap smears and prostate specific antigen tests.
Current smokers were less likely than others to use primary care services that incurred out of pocket costs, and specific preventive services. This was independent of a wide range of predisposing, access- and health-related factors, suggesting that smokers have a lower propensity to seek health care. Smokers may be missing out on preventive services from which they would differentially benefit.
PMCID: PMC3502263  PMID: 22900643

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