Light and intermittent smoking among young adults : trends and transitions




Li, Xiaoyin

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Although smoking prevalence has declined, very light smoking (5 or fewer cigarettes per day) is still very common among young adults. The limited available literature indicates that emerging alternative tobacco use may play a role in the prevalence and progression of very light smoking among young adults. The current dissertation involved two studies examining trends and transitions of very light smoking and investigating the demographic and behavioral corelates of these trends and transitions. Study 1 fills the research gap by examining the trends of light smoking among young adults (18-25 year) during the past decade. The roles of demographic factors (such as sex, race/ethnicity, age group, and educational status) and other tobacco use status (such as daily smoking status and use of alternative tobacco) in trends of light smoking among young adults were also explored. The research sample was selected from the public national database, the NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), 2002-2015. Findings suggested that the long-term smoking trends among young adults were nonlinear and the trends varied in different subgroups of young adults. The general decline in very light smoking among young adults masks the different trends in certain time periods, tobacco use groups and demographic subpopulations. Tailored policies and prevention programs are needed to benefit subpopulations of young adults. Study 2 examines transitions of cigarette smoking among college students across two and half years using six semi-annual waves of online data from the Project M-PACT study (Marketing and Promotions Across Colleges in Texas), supported by the National Cancer Institute and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Using Markov models, the author examined changes in states of current smoking among college students within time intervals of various duration, and also investigated the roles of sex and alternative tobacco use in smoking status and transition. The results showed that the transitions of smoking status among college students were associated with starting smoking status, the duration of the interval, sex and the use of alternative tobacco products. These findings highlight the need to identify priorities for tobacco control programs and policies among college students


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