Receipt of Tobacco Treatment and One-Year Smoking Cessation Rates Following Lung Cancer Screening in the Veterans Health Administration.

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Journal of general internal medicine : official journal of the Society for Research and Education in Primary Care Internal Medicine


washington; seattle; swedish


BACKGROUND: Implementation of effective smoking cessation interventions in lung cancer screening has been identified as a high-priority research gap, but knowledge of current practices to guide process improvement is limited due to the slow uptake of screening and dearth of data to assess cessation-related practices and outcomes under real-world conditions.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate cessation treatment receipt and 1-year post-screening cessation outcomes within the largest integrated healthcare system in the USA-the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Design Observational study using administrative data from electronic medical records (EMR). Patients Currently smoking Veterans who received a first lung cancer screening test using low-dose CT (LDCT) between January 2014 and June 2018. Main Outcomes Tobacco treatment received within the window of 30 days before and 30 days after LDCT; 1-year quit rates based on EMR Smoking Health Factors data 6-18 months after LDCT. Key Results Of the 47,609 current smokers screened (95.3% male), 8702 (18.3%) received pharmacotherapy and/or behavioral treatment for smoking cessation; 531 (1.1%) received both. Of those receiving pharmacotherapy, only one in four received one of the most effective medications: varenicline (12.1%) or combination nicotine replacement therapy (14.3%). Overall, 5400 Veterans quit smoking-a rate of 11.3% (missing=smoking) or 13.5% (complete case analysis). Treatment receipt and cessation were associated with numerous sociodemographic, clinical, and screening-related factors.

CONCLUSIONS: One-year quit rates for Veterans receiving lung cancer screening in VHA are similar to those reported in LDCT clinical trials and cohort studies (i.e., 10-17%). Only 1% of Veterans received the recommended combination of pharmacotherapy and counseling, and the most effective pharmacotherapies were not the most commonly received ones. The value of screening within VHA could be improved by addressing these treatment gaps, as well as the observed disparities in treatment receipt or cessation by race, rurality, and psychiatric conditions.

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Behavioral Health