July 19 (UPI) -- A new hospital-based smoking cessation program has shown success in getting cancer patients to quit smoking, new research shows.
In fact, 17 percent of cancer patients received prescriptions for medication to help them quit smoking after entering the program, according to a study published July in Translational Behavioral Medicine.
"Helping cancer patients quit smoking is one of the most important things we can do. So it's important we provide smoking-cessation treatment in ways our patients can take advantage of," Alex T. Ramsey, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University and study first author, said in a news release.
The program began in 2018 at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, along with other satellite locations around in Missouri and Illinois. Smoking rates for adults in those two states were 22 percent and 16 percent.
Five months after the program launched, the percentage of smokers who received referrals for counseling nearly tripled. Also, the percentage who were prescribed medication increased five-fold.
While it's not possible to calculate which approach works best as a smoking cessation method, the researchers predict the number of patients who quit smoking will continue to grow.
Similar hospital-based programs, like the one at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center, have led to a 36 increase in patients who use smoking cessation interventions.
"I think that bringing this treatment support to clinics and hospital settings, at a time when patients are highly motivated to quit smoking, is going to pay big dividends," Ramsey said.