An examination of early smoking experiences and smoking status in a national cross-sectional sample

Addiction. 2005 Sep;100(9):1352-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01194.x.


Aims: To extend previous work showing lightheadedness from and liking for smoking to be associated with continued smoking while controlling for demographics and social influences that can also contribute to progression to established smoking.

Design and setting: Random digit dialing telephone survey conduced on 3383 never smokers, non-smokers, former smokers and current smokers in the continental United States.

Measurements: Demographic information (sex, race, age, education level), smoking history, reactions to early experiences with smoking (lightheadedness, liking), whether parents, siblings or friends smoked when respondent was a teenager.

Findings: Lightheadedness and liking interacted-those who liked smoking (regardless of lightheadedness) were very likely to progress to established smoking, while non-likers who experienced lightheadedness were more likely than non-likers who did not experience lightheadedness to progress. These results held even after adjusting for demographic (sex, age, race, education) and social influences (parents, siblings and friends smoking).

Conclusions: Lightheadedness from early smoking appears to be associated with having smoked 100 cigarettes only among those who report not liking early smoking. Overall, this study supports the literature suggesting that early experiences, particularly liking smoking, are associated with becoming a regular smoker.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*