Stroke Survivors Are Less Likely to Quit Smoking Than Cancer Survivors


Survey results may imply that individuals who stop could have more health problems or die from a subsequent heart issue.

Stroke survivors are more likely to quit smoking than cancer survivors, which could imply that they would have more health problems or even die from a subsequent stroke or heart disease, research results published in Stroke show.

“We were curious to understand smoking among people with stroke and cardiovascular disease,” Neal Parikh, MD, MS, a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, said in a statement. “In part to assess whether a similar program is necessary for stroke survivors, our team compared smoking cessation rates between stroke survivors and cancer survivors.”

Investigators found the stroke survivors were 28% less likely to quit smoking compared with individuals with cancer. However, 61% of those who suffered a stroke reported that they had quit smoking.

Additionally, survivors under aged 60 years were less likely to quit smoking compared with those aged 60 years and older.

Stoke survivors in Southeastern states, known as the Stroke Belt, were approximately 6% less likely to quit smoking than in other states in the country.

“Important next steps are devising and testing optimal smoking cessation programs for people who have had a stroke or mini-stroke,” Parikh said.

“Programs for patients with stroke and cardiovascular disease should be as robust as smoking cessation programs offered to patients with cancer.”

Investigators gathered data from 2013 and 2019 from the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System that included 74,400 individuals who reported having a prior stroke and history of smoking and 155,693 individuals who identified as cancer survivors with a history of smoking.

Smoking status was defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

A limitation of the study is that individuals in the survey were self-reporting.

Stroke is a journal from the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.


Stroke survivors less likely than cancer survivors to have quit smoking, new study results show. EurekAlert. News release. November 17, 2021. Accessed November 17, 2021.

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