Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, with cigarette smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke contributing to 480,000 deaths annually (Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2014). As many as 60% of smokers will die from a disease attributable to cigarette smoking (Jha et al., 2013). Despite declines in overall cigarette smoking, decreasing recent rates of have slowed to a current prevalence at 18% (HHS, 2014).
Tobacco products contain a number of carcinogens, with at least 60 associated with cigarette smoke and 16 within unburned tobacco (Hecht, 2003). More specifically, cigarette smoking has been identified as a causal factor for colorectal cancer (HHS, 2014). Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and third leading cause of cancer deaths in the US (HHS, 2014).Studies have shown that smokers are at increased risk for colorectal cancer even after controlling for known risk factors such as family history, alcohol use, and body fat (Zhao et al., 2010; Hannan, Jacobs, & Thun, 2009; Hecht, 2003; Slattery et al., 1997). Regular screening can reduce the number of persons who die from colorectal cancer by at least 60% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013). A study was conducted between 2009 and 2013 among 1637persons receiving colorectal screenings. This paper reports quantitative data comparing perceived health status between current smokers, former smokers and never smokers among patients receiving colonoscopy screenings. This study was approved by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board.
Cross-sectional data were collected as part of a larger study investigating whether verbal and nonverbal communication and behaviors of gastroenterologists & nurses: (a) are associated with how adjuvant chemotherapy is framed by patients & caregivers (e.g., perceptions of the seriousness and risk for death associated with their disease); (b) differ by patients’ race, gender, income, and age; (c) differ by colonoscopy outcomes; and (d) differ by gastroenterologist or primary care physicians' pre-procedure concern for cancer (i.e., screening or diagnostic study).
Colonoscopy patients were accessed through hospital based and outpatient clinics affiliated with a large teaching hospital in the southeastern United States (US). As part of standard procedure for colonoscopy screening, patients are asked to arrive at the testing site an hour prior to their procedure. Patients were recruited while they waited for their appointment. After check-in and completion of the necessary procedure related paperwork, patients and their caregivers were approached by study personnel. Study personnel identified themselves, confirmed the patient was receiving a colonoscopy, provided a brief overview, and asked if the patient/caregiver dyad was interested in participating in the study. If patients and their caregivers indicated interest, then study personnel...