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Nicotine Tob Res. 2003 Oct;5(5):755-9.

Nondaily smokers: a descriptive analysis.

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  • 1Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta GA 30333, USA. pmw1@cdc.gov


To describe the characteristics of persons in the United States who smoke but do not smoke daily, we analyzed 1997-1998 data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The NHIS collects self-reported information on cigarette smoking from a representative sample of the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 18 years or older through in-home surveys. Nondaily smokers were defined as persons who had ever smoked 100 cigarettes, smoked "some days," and smoked on fewer than 30 of the past 30 days. In 1997-1998, an estimated 16.0% of current smokers were nondaily smokers. Being a nondaily smoker was more common among smokers aged 18-24 years (19.9%) than among those aged 45-64 years (12.0%), more common among Black and Hispanic smokers (19.2% and 29.9%, respectively) than among White smokers (13.9%), and more common among smokers with at least a college education (28.2%) than among those with 9-11, 12, or 13-15 years of education (10.0%, 12.5%, or 15.9%, respectively). Mean cigarettes smoked per day for those who had smoked on 1-9, 10-19, and 20-29 of the past 30 days equaled 3.9, 5.3, and 7.0, respectively, compared with 19.0 for daily smokers. Nondaily smokers were more likely than daily smokers to have a quit attempt in the past year (55.2% vs. 40.0%). In conclusion, rates of nondaily smoking vary substantially by age, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment. Differences by education suggest that this behavior may be influenced by knowledge and social norms. Nondaily smoking may be a useful intermediate outcome for assessing changes in smoking prevalence. Cessation interventions need to be tailored for nondaily smokers, who may differ from daily smokers in important ways.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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