Transitions to Regular Smoking and Nicotine Dependence in the Adolescent National Comorbidity Survey (NCS-A)

Psychology Department, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459, USA.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.2). 12/2011; 43(3):394-401. DOI: 10.1007/s12160-011-9330-9
Source: PubMed


This study aims to investigate the occurrence of nicotine dependence following the achievement of previous smoking milestones (initiation, weekly, and daily smoking).
Analyses are based on data from The National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent, a nationally representative face-to-face survey of 10,123 adolescents (age 13-17) conducted between 2001 and 2004.
Among adolescents who had ever smoked (36.0%), 40.7% reached weekly smoking levels and 32.8% had reached daily smoking. Approximately one in five adolescents who had ever smoked (19.6%) met criteria for nicotine dependence. An earlier age of smoking initiation, a shorter time since the onset of smoking and faster transitions among smoking milestones were independently associated with the onset of daily smoking and nicotine dependence.
These findings shed new light on the course of smoking and nicotine dependence during adolescence by demonstrating a rapid transition across smoking stages for those most at risk for the development of chronic and dependent use.

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