185007 Young adult intermittent smokers: Defining and characterizing non-daily smoking

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kathleen Lenk, MPH , Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN
Jean Forster, PhD, MPH , Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN
Vincent Chen, PhD , Division of Behavioral Sciences and Division of Biostatistics, University of Texas, Houston, TX
Debra Bernat, PhD , Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN
Peter Rode, MA , Minnesota Center for Health Statistics, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
In recent years, tobacco researchers have become aware of a subset of smokers who do not smoke on a daily basis, but rather smoke intermittently. Some research has shown that intermittent smoking is a risk factor for acute/chronic health problems as well as for transitioning to more regular smoking, but little is known about the characteristics of intermittent smokers, particularly among young adults. In this study, we examine intermittent smoking among 730 young adult smokers across several Midwestern states who were interviewed via telephone in 2006. We defined two groups of intermittent smokersólow intermittent (smoked on 1-14 days in past 30 days) and high intermittent (smoked on 15-29 days in past 30). We then analyzed how the low intermittent and high intermittent groups differed and how high intermittent smokers differed from daily smokers across numerous characteristics such as demographics, social smoking, and addiction. In pair-wise comparisons between these groups, we found significant differences across nearly all characteristics. Multivariate analyses further demonstrate these distinctions, with low intermittent smokers much less likely than high intermittent smokers to consider themselves smokers, feel addicted, or smoke with friends. High intermittent smokers were less likely than daily smokers to feel addicted, have trouble quitting, or smoke at bars. Our findings show that young adult intermittent smokers are clearly not a homogeneous group but differ amongst themselves and also differ from daily smokers in important ways. In addition to describing our methods and results, we will discuss implications for prevention, policy, and research efforts.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand definitions of low and high intermittent smoking and why intermittent smoking is an important risk behavior to address. 2. Articulate key differences between low versus high intermittent smokers and between daily smokers and high intermittent smokers. 3. Describe how knowledge of the characteristics of intermittent versus daily smokers can help guide prevention, policy, and research efforts.

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I perfomed all analyses for this study and wrote the corresponding manuscript to be submitted for publication
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.