Cigarette smoking is more common among survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer than those without cancer, and smoking is associated with greater comorbidities and poorer general health, a study published in the journal Cancer has shown.1

For the study, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston analyzed data from 1019 survivors of AYA cancer who participated in the 2012 to 2014 National Health Interview Surveys. Survivors were included if they had cancer diagnosed between age 15 years and 39 years and were at least 5 years after their initial cancer diagnosis. A comparison group of matched controls without cancer were also identified.

Results showed that 33% of survivors were current smokers compared with 22% of noncancer controls (P < .001). Researchers found that comorbidities and fair or poor health were significantly more prevalent in the survivor group than in the control group.

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Among AYA cancer survivors, current smokers had a higher likelihood of reporting greater comorbidities (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.06-2.47; P = .03) and were less likely to report at least good health (OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.22-0.54; P < .001) than survivors who had never smoked.

The study further demonstrated that 92% of current smokers had started smoking prior to their cancer diagnosis and 37% reported having no smoking-related discussions with their clinician in the previous year.

“Younger survivors may need to be targeted for effective smoking cessation interventions,” the authors conclude. “Addressing cigarette smoking during medical visits may encourage survivors to quit smoking.”


1. Kaul S, Veeranki SP, Rodriguez AM, Kuo YF. Cigarette smoking, comorbidity, and general health among survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer [published online June 10, 2016]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.30086.