Thursday, December 21, 2006
Article in the New York Times -- Addictions: Smoking Again After Lung Cancer Surgery, by Eric Nagourney:
What does it take to get smokers to give up the habit? For some, not even lung cancer surgery does the trick.
In a study of lung cancer patients, researchers found that almost half started smoking again within a year after surgery -- most within two months of the operation.
It's interesting that the Times assumed the decision to keep smoking stemmed from addiction, even though the article didn't report any discussion of addiction by the underlying study. Although clearly lung cancer would challenge anyone's decision to keep smoking, it's not impossible that someone would choose to continue smoking out of enjoyment. Moreover, while the article notes that smoking after lung cancer increases one's health risks, the article does not discuss the background rate of survival from lung cancer without smoking. If the survival rates from lung cancer are still extremely low even with quitting smoking, it's conceivable one might decide to keep smoking to enjoy the remainder of his or her life.