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California Youth Advocacy Network
 

Young Adult Tobacco Use

Young Adult Tobacco Use

Young adults continue to have the highest rates of tobacco use of any age group. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is an opportune time to intervene to prevent chronic disease. Young adults tend to overestimate the number of their peers who use tobacco, which contributes to the social norm of tobacco use.

A Closer Look at Smoking Among Young Adults: Where Tobacco Control Should Focus Its Attention
(American Journal of Public Health, 2007) 

Cigarette Smoking Patterns Among Young Adults Aged 18-24 Years in the United States
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2007)

College Student Smokers, Former Versus Current Nonsmokers
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2012)

Examining the Use of Tobacco on College Campuses
(Journal of American College Health, 1999)

Health Behaviors of the Young Adult U.S. Population: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2003
(Preventing Chronic Disease, 2007) 

Implications of the Normative Fallacy in Young Adult Smokers Aged 19-24
(American Journal of Public Health, 2007)

Long-Term Trends in Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking in the United States: Metapatterns and Implications
(American Journal of Public Health, 2008)

Smoking Behavior Among Young Adults: Beyond Youth Prevention
(Tobacco Control, 2005)

Smoking in College Freshman: University Project of the Tobacco Etiology Research Network (UpTERN)
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2007)

Smoking on the Rise Among Young Adults: Implications for Research and Policy
(Tobacco Control, 2003)

The Effect of Support for Action Against the Tobacco Industry on Smoking Among Young Adults
(American Journal of Public Health, 2007) 

The Impact of Active and Passive Peer Influence on Young Adult Smoking: An Experimental Study
(Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2011)

The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages 18-24 in America
(U.S. Census, 2000)

Trajectories of Smoking Among Freshman College Students With Prior Smoking History and Risk for Future Smoking: Data from the University Project Tobacco Etiology Research Network (UpTERN) Study
(Addiction, 2008)

Young Adult Smoking Behavior
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009)

Underreporting or Not Identifying Tobacco Use

College students use a broad range of criteria to define who is a smoker. Even individuals who use tobacco regularly may not identify as smokers or tobacco users. One study found that over half of college students surveyed denied being a smoker, even though they exhibited current smoking behavior (Levinson, 2006). Not identifying as a smoker can affect a persons’ perception of their need to quit. Tobacco users frequently tend to under-report their tobacco use.

A Qualitative Study of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices Among 40 Undergraduate Smokers
(Journal of American College Health, 2007)

Defining “Smoker”: College Student Attitudes and Related Smoking Characteristics
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2010)

Reliability and Validity of Self-Reported Smoking in an Anonymous Online Survey with Young Adults
(Health Psychology, 2012)

Smoker Self-Identification Versus Recent Smoking Among College Students
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009)

Smoking, but Not Smokers: Identity Among College Students Who Smoke Cigarettes
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2007) 

The Prevalence of Unrecognized Tobacco Use Among Young Adults 
(American Journal of Health Behavior, 2010) 

Validation of Self Report on Smoking Among University Students in Korea
(American Journal of Public Health, 2009)

Tobacco Use Initiation

Although initiation of tobacco use often happens before age 18, there is considerable change in smoking behavior after this age. College is an important time to prevent tobacco initiation because it is a time when adolescents transition into a new social context where tobacco use may be socially normative. Dependence can happen fast, with symptoms of dependence appearing shortly after initiation, even at low levels of exposure. Peers can play in important role in the prevention of tobacco use.

A Prospective Study of Cigarette Smoking Initiation During College: Chinese and Korean-American Students
(Health Psychology, 2009)

Do the Majority of Asian-American and African American Smokers Start as Adults
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2004) 

Friends Moderate the Effects of Pro-Smoking Media on College Students’ Intentions to Smoke
(Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2013)

Physical Activity and Other Health-Risk Behaviors During the Transition Into Early Adulthood
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2012)

Predicting Young Adult Smoking Among Adolescent Smokers and Nonsmokers
(American Journal of Health Behavior, 2012) 

Predictors of Smoking Among US College Students
(American Journal of Public Health, 1996)

Predictors of the Transition to Regular Smoking During Adolescence and Young Adulthood
(Journal of Adolescent Health, 2003)

Smoking Initiation Among Young Adults in the United States and Canada, 1998-2010: A Systematic Review
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

Smoking Initiation and Smoking Patterns Among US College Students
(American Journal of College Health, 1999)

Smoking Initiation During Young Adulthood: A Longitudinal Study of a Population-Based Cohort
(Journal of Adolescent Health, 2012)

Socioeconomic Correlates of Current and Regular Smoking Among College Students in Rhode Island
(Journal of American College Health, 2008)

The Natural Course of Nicotine Dependence Symptoms Among Adolescent Smokers
(Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2012)

The Natural History of College Smoking: Trajectories of Daily Smoking During the Freshman Year
(Addictive Behaviors, 2006)

The Timing of Smoking Onset, Prolonged Abstinence, and Relapse in Men: A Prospective Study From Ages 18-32 Years
(Addiction, 2011)

Transitions in Smoking Behavior During Emerging Adulthood: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Effect of Home Smoking Bans
(American Journal of Public Health, 2014)

What Fractions of Young Adults are At Risk for Future Smoking, and Who Are They?
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2005) 

Social Smoking/Non-Daily Tobacco Use

Social smoking is a tobacco use behavior that occurs mostly when a person is in social situations, such as a party or other situation with friends. People may also be non-daily tobacco users, without a social context. Some non-daily tobacco users are transitioning from daily tobacco use, and trying to cut back or quit. Other non-daily users may be new to tobacco use and experimenting with tobacco. Social smokers may not identify as smokers, which is associated with less motivation to quit. Light and intermittent smoking carry the same risk for cardiovascular disease as daily smoking.

An Ecological Perspective on Smoking Among Asian American College Students: The Roles of Social Smoking and Smoking Motives
(Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2008)

Are College Student Smokers Really a Homogenous Group? A Latent Class Analysis of College Student Smokers
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2009) 

Characteristics of Social Smoking Among College Students
(American Journal of College Health, 2006)

Delay Discounting in College Cigarette Chippers
(Behavioral Pharmacology, 2006)

Health Effects of Light and Intermittent Smoking
(Circulation, 2010)

How Should We Define Light or Intermittent Smoking? Does it Matter? 
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2009)

Intent to Quit Among Daily and Non-Daily College Student Smokers
(Health Education Research, 2012)

“I Smoke But I’m Not A Smoker”: Phantom Smokers and the Discrepancy Between Self-Identity and Behavior
(Journal of American College Health, 2010)

Nondaily Smokers: Who Are They?
(American Journal of Public Health, 2003)

Occasional Smoking in College: Who What, When and Why?
(Addictive Behaviors, 2011)

Perceptions About Cigarette Smoking and Risks Among College Students
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2004)

Predictors of the Transition From Experimental to Daily Smoking in Late Adolescence and Young Adulthood
(Journal of Drug Education, 2010)

Social Smokers: Smoking Motivations, Behavior, Vulnerability, and Responses to Antismoking Advertising
(Journal of Consumer Behavior, 2012)

Social Smoking by University of California, Santa Cruz Students
(Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 2006)

Social Smoking Among US College Students
(Pediatrics, 2004)

Social Smoking Among Young Adults: Investigation of Intentions and Attempts to Quit
(American Journal of Public Health, 2011)

Taking Play Seriously: Low-Level Smoking Among College Students
(Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 2007)

The Truth About Social Smoking
(The Independent, 2011)

Tobacco Dependence Among Intermittent Smokers
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2012)

Tobacco Use By College Students: A Comparison of Daily and Nondaily Smokers
(American Journal of Health Behavior, 2012)

Trigger of Heavier and Lighter Cigarette Smoking in College Students
(Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2005)

Young Adult Smoking Patterns: Characterizing and Comparing Young Adult Intermittent and Daily Smokers
(Substance Use & Misuse, 2009)

Messaging for Young Adults/ Reaching Young Adults

Young adults may respond to messaging that smoking hurts others more than they respond to messaging that smoking hurts themselves. Social policies which increase the social unacceptability of tobacco use, and other motivators such as tobacco taxes have been found to reduce cigarette consumption in young adults. Tobacco programs should stress that non-smoking is the preferred norm. Pack shape and pack opening have also been found to create appeal of different tobacco products among young adults. Regulation of product packaging, including graphic warning labels is likely to impact young adult attitudes toward tobacco products.

A Review of Multicomponent Interventions to Prevent and Control Tobacco Use Among College Students
(Journal of American College Health, 2012)

Cigarette Smoking Among College Students with Disabilities: National College Health Assessment II, Fall 2008-Spring 2009
(Disability and Health Journal, 2013)

College Students’ Perceptions of Philip Morris’s Tobacco- Related Smoking Prevention and Tobacco-Unrelated Social Responsibility 
(Journal of Public Relations Research, 2012)

College Students’ Responses to Anti-Smoking Messages: Denial, Defiance, and Other Boomerang Effects
(Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2006)

College Student Reactions to Health Warning Labels: Sociodemographic and Psychosocial Factors Related to Perceived Effectiveness of Different Approaches
(Preventive Medicine, 2011)

Effect of Increased Social Unacceptability of Cigarette Smoking on Reduction in Cigarette Consumption
(American Journal of Public Health, 2006) 

Effects of Tobacco-Related Media Campaigns on Smoking from 20-30-Year-Old Adults: Longitudinal Data from the USA
(Tobacco Control, 2011)

How Neuroticism Affects Responses to Anti-Smoking Messages 
(Health Communication, 2011)

I ‘Like’ MPOWER: using Facebook, Online Ads and New Media to Mobilize Tobacco Control Communities in Low Income and Middle-Income Countries
(Tobacco Control, 2013)

Momentary Effects of Exposure to Prosmoking Media on College Students’ Future Smoking Risk
(Health Psychology, 2012)

Patterns of Combustible Tobacco Use in U.S. Young Adults and Potential Response to Graphic Cigarette Health Warning Labels
(Addictive Behaviors, 2015)

Perceived Risk and Benefit for Self and Other as Predictors of Smokers’ Attitudes Towards Smoking Restrictions
(Psychology and Health, 2008) 

Perceptions and Perceived Impact of Graphic Cigarette Health Warning Labels on Smoking Behavior Among U.S. Young Adults
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2013)

Reaching Young Adult Smokers Through the Internet: Comparison of Three Recruitment Mechanisms
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2010)

Responses of Young Adults to Graphic Warning Labels for Cigarette Packages
(Tobacco Control, 2012)

Targeting Anti-Smoking Messages: Does Audience Race Matter? 
(Addictive Behaviors, 2012)

The Impact of Email Recruitment On Our Understanding of College Smoking
(Addictive Behaviors, 2009)

The Impact of Structural Packaging Design on Young Adult Smokers’ Perceptions of Tobacco Products
(Tobacco Control, 2011)

The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit
(Centers for Disease Control, 2011)

Tobacco Control Advocacy in the Age of Social Media: Using Facebook, Twitter and Change
(Tobacco Control, 2012)

Using Viral E-Mails to Distribute Tobacco Control Advertisements: An Experimental Investigation
(Journal of Health Communication, 2011)

Variability of Helathcare Practitioner Intervention Among 18- to 24-Year-Old Tobacco Users
(Journal of Adolescent Health, 2008)

Young Adult Tobacco Use by College Type

Tobacco use rates, patterns, and attitudes may vary depending on the type of college a person attends.

Cigarette Smoking and Cessation Among Trade or Technical School Students in Texas
(Journal of American College Health, 2008)

Differences in Tobacco Use Among Two-Year and Four-Year College Students in Minnesota
(Journal of American College Health, 2009)

Smoking Patterns, Attitudes, and Motives: Unique Characteristics Among 2-Year Versus 4-Year College Students
(Health Education Research, 2011)

Race/Ethnicity and Young Adult Tobacco Use

The following articles explore the variations in tobacco use by race/ethnicity.

Acculturation and Meanings of Smoking Among Asian-American College Students
(Addictive Behaviors, 2007)

Attitudes and Beliefs about Smoking Among African-American College Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(Journal of the National American Medical Association, 2007)

Comparison of the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Iranian College Students about Tobacco Use in Comparison to their American and Chinese Counterparts
(International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2011) 

Everyday Discrimination is Associated with Nicotine Dependence in African American, Latino, and White Smokers
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2014) 

From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Smoking
(American Journal of Public Health, 2004) 

Focus Groups for Specific Populations: Smoking Among African American and White Young Adults
(Office of Smoking and Health, 2002)

Health Risk Behaviors of Black Male College Students: Seat Belt Use, Smoking, and Obesity Status
(ABNF Journal, 2010)

Investigating Race, Gender, and Access to Cigarettes in an Adolescent Population
(American Journal of Health Behaviors, 2012)

Latino College Health Initiative Report
(Legacy, 2014)

Race/Ethnicity, Nativity, and Tobacco Use Among U.S. Young Adults: Results From a Nationally Representative Survey
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2013) 

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Current Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and Hookahs Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2011) 

Seven-Year Patterns in US Cigar Use Epidemiology Among Young Adults Aged 18-25 Years: A Focus on Race/Ethnicity and Brand
(American Journal of Public Health, 2011) 

Trends in Black/White Differences in Current Smoking Among 18- to 24-Year Olds in the United States, 1983-1993
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1998)

Understanding Nonsmoking in African American and Caucasian College Students: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior
(Behavioral Medicine, 2009) 

Age, Gender, Other Factors and Young Adult Tobacco Use

Assessment of Nicotine Dependence Among Adolescent and Young Adult Smokers: A Comparison or Measures
(Addictive Behaviors, 2010)

Association Between Financial Dependence and Tobacco Use Among Young Adults
(American Journal of Health Behavior, 2014) 

Gender Differences in Smoking and Meanings of Smoking in Asian-American College Students
(Journal of Health Psychology, 2008) 

Genetic Factors Contribute to the Association Between Peers and Young Adult Smoking: Univariate and Multivariate Behavioral Genetic Analyses
(Addictive Behaviors, 2008)

Health Indicators Among Unemployed and Employed Young Adults
(JOEM, 2011) 

Health, Masculinity and Smokeless Tobacco Use Among College-Aged Men
(Health Communications, 2011) 

Is Tobacco Use a Problem Among Deaf College Students
(American Annals of the Deaf, 2006) 

Smoking Cessation Rates in the United States: A Comparison of Young Adult and Older Smokers
(American Journal of Public Health, 2008) 

Tobacco Use by Sexual Identity Among Young Adults in the United States
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2013)

Young Adult Smokers: Are They Different? 
(AJMC, 2007) 

Mental Health and Young Adult Tobacco Use

Depressive Symptoms and Cigarette Smoking in a College Sample
(Journal of American College Health, 2008) 

Differing Psychosocial Risk Profiles of College Freshman Waterpipe, Cigar, and Cigarette Smokers
(Addictive Behaviors, 2008) 

Reconsidering Stress and Smoking: A Qualitative Study Among College Students
(Tobacco Control, 2007) 

Self Monitored Motives for Smoking Among College Students
(Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2007) 

Temporal Stability of the Sleep Disturbance Ascribed to Worry Scale
(Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2004) 

The Relationship Between Depression Level and Smoking Motives in College Smokers
(Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2011) 

The Role of Depression and Negative Affect Regulation Expectancies in Tobacco Smoking Among College Students
(Journal of American College Health, 2009)

Young Adult Tobacco Use and Health

Cigarette Smoking and Associated Health Risks Among Students at Five Universities
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2009)

Facial Changes Caused by Smoking: A Comparison Between Smoking and Nonsmoking Identical Twins
(Cosmetic, 2013)

How much nicotine kills a human? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self-experiments in the nineteenth century
(Archives of Toxicology, 2013) 

Personal Motivation, Exercise, and Smoking Behaviors Among Young Adults
(Behavioral medicine, 2009)

Role of Tobacco Smoking in Hangover Symptoms Among University Students
(Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2013)

Smoking Habits and Obesity in Young Adults
(Addiction, 2005) 

Trajectories of Cigarette Smoking from Adolescence to Young Adulthood as Predictors of Obesity in the Mid-30s
(Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2010)