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J Adolesc Health. 2011 Feb;48(2):176-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.06.015.

Predictors and sequelae of smoking topography over the course of a single cigarette in adolescent light smokers.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1007 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60607, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine whether adolescent smokers, who varied in their smoking histories and symptoms of nicotine dependence, exhibit any decrease in puff volume and duration similar to that typically seen in dependent adolescent and adult smokers. Moreover, we examined whether puffing trajectories were moderated by individual difference factors, as well as whether puffing topography over the course of smoking a single cigarette was predictive of an escalation in dependence symptoms.


We assessed smoking topography (puff number, duration, volume, maximum flow rate [velocity], and inter-puff interval) over the course of smoking a single cigarette in a sample of 78 adolescent light smokers, using hierarchical linear modeling. We examined moderators (anxiety, depression, nicotine dependence) of the topographic trajectories, as well as whether smoking topography predicted any change in dependence over a 2-year period.


Puff volume and puff duration decreased over the course of smoking the cigarette, whereas puff velocity and inter-puff interval increased. Slopes for puff volume and duration were moderated by anxiety and depressive symptoms. Moreover, individuals with a less "typical" topography pattern (exhibited stable or increasing volume and duration over the course of smoking the cigarette) demonstrated a heightened dependence escalation in the subsequent 2 years.


Our findings suggest that adolescent light smokers self-regulate nicotine during the course of smoking a single cigarette, similar to that reported in dependent adolescent and adult smokers. However, single cigarette self-regulation was influenced by certain affective factors. Implications of these findings and future directions for adolescent smoking research are discussed.

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