SOURCE: Tottenborg SS, Thomsen RW, Johnsen SP, et al. Determinants of smoking cessation in patients with COPD treated in the outpatient setting. Chest 2016;150:554-562.

Like most other endeavors in medicine, the road to successful smoking cessation is not one-size-fits-all. Prior to end-stage disease for patients with COPD, the only intervention that has been shown to be truly disease-modifying is smoking cessation. How can we best target our efforts to ensure best smoking cessation outcomes? Tottenborg et al studied a large population of smokers suffering from COPD in Denmark (n = 3,233) to see which demographic factors were associated with likelihood of smoking cessation. In this population (in contrast to other data from the United States), clinician encouragement to cease smoking was not statistically significantly associated with likelihood of cessation.

Over a five-year period of observation, factors that were identified as associated with lesser likelihood of smoking cessation included younger age (30-39 years compared to 70 years), lower income, unemployment, and low severity of COPD. Although we can’t change our patients’ age, income, job status, or COPD severity, Tottenborg et al suggested identifying the characteristics that predict less success with smoking cessation may allow clinicians an opportunity to redouble efforts in these same individuals.