Certain Test Results and Desire to Protect Their Children's Health Motivate Women to Quit Smoking

Developing biomarker feedback for smoking cessation programs

From 1998 to 1999, investigators at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, developed a smoking-cessation program for ethnically diverse, low-income women who are pregnant.

Key Findings: During focus groups and interviews, the researchers found that:

  • Women were interested in blood tests that could show the damage cigarette smoking causes to their DNA and its effect on their risk of cancer.
  • The women were able to grasp the concepts inherent in the results of the blood/urine test and said they would be motivated to quit smoking when presented with evidence from the test that their exposure to cancer-causing substances had been reduced.
  • Women are motivated to stop smoking to protect the health of their children.

Key Results:

  • The researchers created a manual for physicians and a series of handouts for patients and physicians describing the blood tests to be performed, the dangers of smoking to health, tips for quitting smoking, and a stepwise process for helping patients quit.

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