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Intermittent smokers who used to smoke daily: A preliminary study on smoking situations

Intermittent smokers who used to smoke daily: A preliminary study on smoking situations


Introduction: As many as half of intermittent (i.e., nondaily) smokers once smoked daily. Little is known about their transition from daily to intermittent smoking, a process that eventually leads them to forgo smoking on some days. Method: The present study attempted to gain insight by analyzing situations in which these individuals were likely to smoke. It used data from a California population tobacco survey with a supplemental questionnaire on smoking situations of young adults (aged 18–29 years, n = 1,581). The analysis in the present study divided smokers into three groups: daily smokers, intermittent smokers who never smoked daily (never-daily intermittent), and intermittent smokers who formerly smoked daily (former-daily intermittent). Results: Former-daily intermittent smokers were more similar to never-daily intermittent smokers than to daily smokers in seven types of smoking situation, regardless of whether the situations were more social and episodic, such as “at parties,” or more routine, such as while “driving.” This held true even though these former-daily intermittent smokers were daily smokers only about 22 months on average before the survey. It appears that former-daily intermittent smokers reduce their probability of smoking across all situations. Discussion: We propose a simple model to explain how a reduction in smoking probability across all situations might lead former-daily intermittent smokers to first forgo smoking on days with no social events. The fact that smokers frequently go from daily to nondaily smoking has both theoretical and practical implications for nicotine research and for public health campaigns to reduce tobacco-related diseases.
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