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Addict Behav. 2006 Sep;31(9):1700-4. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Reliability of self-reports of cigarette use in novice smokers.

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  • 1McGill University, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


This analysis reports the 3-month test-retest reliability of self-reports of cigarette use in novice smokers, and identifies factors associated with adequate recall. Participants included 63 novice smokers (mean age 14.1 years) from the McGill University Study on the Natural History of Nicotine Dependence in Teens. We compared data for three cigarette use indicators obtained in a 1-month recall of smoking, to data obtained for that same month, 3 months later. Forty-three participants (68.3%) smoked infrequently; 12.7%, 6.4%, and 12.7% were monthly, weekly, and daily smokers, respectively. Test-retest reliability for the cigarette use frequency and intensity indicators was good (kappa=0.78 and 0.75, respectively); it was lower for total number of cigarettes smoked per month (ICC=0.64). Older age was independently associated with adequate recall for all three indicators. These data suggest that novice smokers recall the frequency and intensity of their cigarette use reliably after 3 months, and that older adolescents have better recall than younger adolescents.

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