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Smoking Cessation Support: A Marathon, Not a Sprint; The Perspectives of Cancer Patients Who Smoke.

OBJECTIVES: Despite the unfavorable outcomes associated with continued smoking, a substantial proportion of patients with cancer continue to smoke after diagnosis. However, limited use of smoking cessation (SC) interventions has been reported. This study explored the perceptions of patients with cancer who continue to smoke/recently quit regarding SC.

DATA SOURCES: Semistructured phone/Zoom/Webex interviews were conducted with 25 participants attending four Irish cancer hospitals who were current smokers or had quit at/after their cancer diagnosis. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.

CONCLUSION: A total of four key themes emerged: (1) Diagnosis was a shock and a cue to action. (2) Brief and variable SC support: most participants did not feel stigmatized and reported receiving verbal or written information from oncology healthcare providers (HCPs) on SC supports. However, use of SC services was limited and largely ineffective. Some participants reported that SC discussions occurred earlier in their treatment with limited/no discussion later. (3) Facilitators vs barriers: the presence or absence of willpower and motivation was perceived as important. Family and HCP support helped while stress hindered SC. (4) SC support is a "marathon," not a "sprint." Patients with cancer who continue to smoke or recently quit want a sustained, tailored, nonjudgmental approach to SC incorporating pharmacological and behavioral interventions that span hospital-/community-based settings.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: While consultants have been identified as the key HCP to initiate the SC discussion, oncology nurses can support patients with cancer who smoke/recently quit by advocating for comprehensive SC services and by using positive messaging and encouragement.

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