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J Am Coll Health. 2008 Sep-Oct;57(2):183-90. doi: 10.3200/JACH.57.2.183-190.

Socioeconomic correlates of current and regular smoking among college students in Rhode Island.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Boston, Massachusetts 02125, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine how sociodemographic variables, in particular socioeconomic status, correlate with current and regular smoking among college students in Rhode Island.


Over a 4-year period (academic year 2000--2001 to 2003--2004), the authors examined sociodemographic correlates of cigarette use among 3,984 students aged 17 to 24 years from 10 colleges and universities in Rhode Island.


One-third of participants (32.0%) had smoked a cigarette in the 30 days preceding the questionnaire. Findings from a pair of logistic regression models indicated that participants from upper-income families were more likely to be current smokers--although not regular smokers--suggesting that the effect of socioeconomic status on smoking is partly dependent on the level of addiction. In addition, freshmen were more likely to be current and regular smokers than were upperclassmen, and white students were most likely to be regular smokers.


The frequency of college students who reported that they first tried smoking and first smoked regularly while in college increased from freshman to senior year, indicating that the college years are a vulnerable period for smoking initiation and habituation.

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