A potential unintended consequence of lung cancer screening (LCS) is an adverse effect on smoking behaviors. This has been difficult to assess in previous randomized clinical trials. Our goal was to determine whether cessation and relapse behaviors differ between Veterans directly invited (DI) to participate in LCS compared to usual care (UC). We conducted a longitudinal survey of tobacco use outcomes among Veterans (Minneapolis VA) from 2014 to 2015, randomized (2:1) to DI versus UC and stratified by baseline smoking status (current/former). Within the DI group, we explored differences between those who did and did not choose to undergo LCS. A total of 979 patients (n = 660 DI, n = 319 UC) returned the survey at a median of 484 days. Among current smokers (n = 488), smoking abstinence rates and cessation attempts did not differ between DI and UC groups. More baseline smokers in DI were non-daily smokers at follow-up compared to those in UC (25.3% vs 15.6%, OR 1.97 95%CI 1.15-3.36). A significant proportion of former smokers at baseline relapsed, with 17% overall indicating past 30-day smoking. This did not differ between arms. Of those invited to LCS, smoking outcomes did not significantly differ between those who chose to be screened (161/660) versus not. This randomized program evaluation of smoking behaviors in the context of invitation to LCS observed no adverse or beneficial effects on tobacco cessation or relapse among participants invited to LCS, or among those who completed screening. As LCS programs scale and spread nationally, effective cessation programs will be essential.
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