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Addict Behav. 2009 Jun-Jul;34(6-7):514-9. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.01.004. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

Patterns of intermittent smoking: An analysis using Ecological Momentary Assessment.

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  • 1University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Shiffman@pitt.edu

Abstract

Non-daily smokers comprise a substantial proportion of US smokers, but there has been little study of their patterns of smoking, which are often assumed to reflect "social smoking." We used Ecological Momentary Assessment methods to study smoking patterns in 27 non-daily smoking adults who recorded each cigarette smoked over three weeks by leaving a voice mail message indicating their circumstances at the time of smoking. All told, 689 cigarettes were recorded over 589 person-days of observation. On average, participants smoked on 67% of days, averaging 2.1 (SD=0.91) cigarettes per day on days they smoked; 22% of all cigarettes were smoked in bouts (within an hour of another cigarette). Altogether, 19% of cigarettes were smoked when drinking alcohol and 29% when participants were socializing. Smoking patterns varied widely across participants. A pair of hierarchical cluster analyses distinguished three groups: Those who smoked primarily (81% of cigarettes) in the daytime (Early smokers; n=15, 58% of total sample), those who smoked primarily (75% of cigarettes) at night (Late smokers; n=7, 27%), and a distinct, classic "Social smoking" group (n=4, 15% of total sample), who smoked mostly at night but also primarily when socializing or drinking (86% of their cigarettes), in the evening (71% of their cigarettes), on weekends (65% of their cigarettes), and in bouts (71% of their cigarettes). Overall, results suggest that non-daily smoking patterns are quite heterogeneous, and that many non-daily smokers may not be primarily social smokers.

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