Smoking Cessation Watch

Pharmacy TimesJune 2023
Volume 89
Issue 6

There are a multitude of benefits to smoking cessation, along with novel resources to make cessation more manageable.

Smoking Cessation Is a Helpful Part of Cancer Care for Patients Who Smoke

It is beneficial to integrate tobacco treatment into cancer centers’ routine care, according to the results of a collaborative study conducted by 28 National Cancer Institute–Designated Cancer Centers and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Individuals are more likely to quit smoking when they receive treatment, Li-Shiun Chen, MD, senior author and an associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, said in a statement. “What we didn’t know until now was whether smoking cessation treatment could be delivered to these patients in cancer centers successfully.”

Investigators identified more than 44,000 patients with cancer who smoke across 28 cancer centers. However, the team did not aim to create a one-size-fits-all treatment program, Chen said. Rather, the centers were encouraged to try different methods and design strategies that would work best to help patients quit smoking.

They discovered that getting patients who smoke into evidence-based therapies, such as nicotine replacement or counseling, helped almost 20% of participants quit.

Patients who were in treatment groups were 2 to 3 times more successful at quitting, first author Sarah D. Hohl, PhD, MPH, an associate scientist at the Cancer Center Cessation Initiative Coordinating Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in the statement.

Smoking cessation can improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy and survival. In fact, patients who stop smoking are 2 times more likely to survive and have a reduced risk of cancer recurrence.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock - ehabeljean

Image Credit: Adobe Stock - ehabeljean

AI Plus Mobile App May Help With Smoking Cessation

A new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered mobile app can help individuals quit smoking, according to the results of a recent study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2

The app uses machine learning to collect information on the location, timing, and triggers of past smoking events to curate messages that assist smokers in managing their urges.

Prior to this app, there had been no other ways to provide support to help smokers manage social situations and urges after quitting, Felix Naughton, PhD, MSc, a primary researcher and professor of health psychology at the University of East Anglia School of Health Sciences in England, said in a statement.

Investigators at the University of East Anglia compared various efficacy measures between the app, called Quit Sense, and the online support offered by the National Health Service (NHS). All participants received NHS online smoking support, and 50% could also access the Quit Sense intervention. At 6 months, those who claimed to have quit smoking submitted a confirmatory saliva sample.

More than 4 times as many individuals from the Quit Sense cohort had successfully quit than those who received NHS support alone. This is the first mobile app using AI to help individuals quit smoking, and investigators suggest it could contribute significantly to the UK government’s initiative for England to be smoke free by 2030.

e-Cigarette Popularity Climbs in United States

Although a historically low percentage of adults in the United States are smoking cigarettes, e-cigarette use is on the rise, according to a CDC survey.3

In the United States, smoking has decreased since the 1960s. This is credited to various antismoking campaigns, educational programs, laws, and taxes.

The pandemic also may have provided extra motivation for individuals to quit, accord-ing to Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS, a volunteer medical spokesperson with the American Lung Association.

e-Cigarettes are largely used by individuals who are trying to quit smoking, but research results published in the BMJ show that they are less helpful than other smoking cessation aids. The FDA has said that no tobacco product is safe to use.

Although smoking has become less socially acceptable in the United States, e-cigarette devices have become more acceptable, especially among younger age groups, with overall use rising to 6% in 2022 from 4.9% in 2021, survey results showed.

Most adult smokers started smoking at a young age, and as e-cigarette use grows among teens and younger children, adult use could also continue to grow, according to the CDC.


  1. Dryden J. Study supports urging smoking-cessation treatment to patients in cancer care. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. December 6, 2022. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  2. How AI and a mobile phone app could help you quit smoking. Newswise. April 14, 2023. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  3. Christensen J. US cigarette smoking rate falls to historic low, but e-cigarette use keeps climbing. CNN Health. April 27, 2023. Accessed May 23, 2023.
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