(HealthDay News) — Smokers with abnormalities detected in lung cancer screening are significantly more likely to quit smoking, according to research published online May 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Martin C. Tammemagi, PhD, of Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, and colleagues followed 15,489 smokers who participated in the National Lung Screening Trial. The authors sought to assess the association between lung cancer screening results and smoking cessation.

The researchers found that, compared with those with a normal lung cancer screen, individuals were more likely to stop smoking if they had one of the following screen results: a major abnormality that was not suspicious for lung cancer on the previous year’s screen (odds ratio [OR], 0.811; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.722–0.912; P<0.001); a major abnormality that was suspicious for lung cancer but stable since previous screens (OR, 0.785; 95% CI, 0.706–0.872; P<0.001); or a major abnormality that was suspicious for lung cancer that was new or changed from the previous screen (OR, 0.663; 95% CI, 0.607–0.724; P<0.001). Differences in smoking prevalence rates persisted for up to five years following the last screen.

“As screening programs are being initiated across the country, they offer unique opportunities to conduct smoking cessation research,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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