Nondaily smokers: who are they?

Am J Public Health. 2003 Aug;93(8):1321-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.8.1321.


Objective: We sought to understand who constitutes the sizable population of nondaily, or some-day (SD), smokers.

Methods: We analyzed descriptive statistics and regression results using the 1998-1999 Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplement to determine the prevalence of SD smokers, their sociodemographic characteristics, and the smoking patterns and histories of groups differentiated by the length and stability of their SD smoking.

Results: SD smokers make up 19.2% of all current smokers. Among SD smokers, 44.6% have smoked less than daily for at least 1 year, no more than 14.4% are just starting to smoke, and the rest are likely in transition. Overall, SD smokers smoked a mean of 102 cigarettes per month (compared to 566.4 for daily smokers), on an average of 14.5 days out of the past 30.

Conclusions: SD smokers make up a substantial segment of the smoking population. They are not just beginning to smoke nor trying to quit. Many have developed a long-standing pattern of nondaily smoking, smoking relatively few cigarettes on the days when they do smoke. They are not substantially younger than daily smokers, as one might expect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / classification*
  • Demography
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Social Environment
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology