(HealthDay News) — A shorter smoking history is associated with a lower risk of death among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers characterized the association between overall survival and cumulative smoking pack-years as well as years since smoking cessation before NSCLC diagnosis. The study included 5594 patients with NSCLC. Most patients were former smokers (59.1%) or current smokers (26.7%), but 14.2% had never smoked.

In an adjusted analysis, former smokers had a 26% higher risk of death than patients who never smoked (hazard ratio [HR], 1.26; 95% CI, 1.13-1.40; P <.001). Current smokers had a 68% higher risk of death than patients who never smoked (HR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.50-1.89; P <.001).

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Among current and former smokers, doubling smoking pack-years was significantly associated with shorter overall survival (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04-1.11; P <.001). Among former smokers, doubling the years since they quit smoking was associated with longer overall survival (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-1.00; P =.04).

“To better inform treatment selection and to improve lung cancer prognosis, detailed smoking history should be collected and studied further in conjunction with molecular and genomic biomarkers in future epidemiological and clinical studies,” the researchers wrote.

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