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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Prevalence and Correlates of Social Smoking in Young Adults: Comparisons of Behavioral

Friday, September 11, 2015  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Nadra E. Lisha, Kevin L. Delucchi, Pamela M. Ling, and Danielle E. Ramo
Prevalence and Correlates of Social Smoking in Young Adults: Comparisons of Behavioral and Self-Identified Definitions.
Nicotine Tob Res 2015 17: 1076-1084
Social smoking is an increasingly common pattern among emerging adults. Although distinct patterns have emerged between social smokers and non-social smokers, there is discrepancy about how to define the construct, with inconsistencies between self-identified social smoking and behavioral social smoking. We report prevalence and correlates of young adult smokers who self-identify and behave as social smokers (SELF + BEH), self-identified non-behavioral social smokers (SELF-ONLY), and non-social smokers (NON-SOCIAL). Young adults age 18–25 years who have smoked at least 1 cigarette in the past 30 days (N = 1,811) were recruited through Facebook for a national anonymous, online survey of tobacco and other substance use. Three social smoking items were used to categorize respondents into 1 of 3 smoking groups. Groups were examined for prevalence and differences on demographics, substance use, motivation to quit smoking and thoughts about tobacco abstinence.
SELF-ONLY (46%) was the largest group, followed by SELF + BEH (27%) and NON-SOCIAL (27%). SELF + BEH smoke less frequently, smoke fewer cigarettes per day, are less addicted to cigarettes, have a higher desire to quit, and perceive a lower quitting difficulty compared with SELF-ONLY. SELF + BEH and SELF-ONLY were more likely to be male, be marijuana users, and be addicted to marijuana than NON-SOCIAL. SELF + BEH exhibited a lower frequency of smoking, less cigarettes per day, were less addicted, and had more days co-using alcohol and cigarettes than NON-SOCIAL. Identifying social smokers based on self-identification in addition to behavioral components appears to be important for designing smoking cessation interventions for emerging adults.

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