Epidemiology and correlates of daily smoking and nicotine dependence among young adults in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):299-308. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.057232. Epub 2005 Dec 27.


Objectives: We describe the epidemiology of smoking behaviors in a national young adult sample and identify common and unique demographic, social, and psychological correlates of daily smoking and lifetime and current nicotine dependence by race/ethnicity.

Methods: Data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, wave III. Dependence was measured by the Revised Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence. Logistic regressions were estimated.

Results: Hispanic ethnicity, low education, parental and peer smoking, novelty seeking, early age of smoking onset, and pleasurable initial smoking experiences are significantly correlated with daily smoking and lifetime nicotine dependence. Depressive symptoms are uniquely associated with lifetime and current dependence. Few factors are highly associated with current dependence. Initial sensitivity to smoking has a significantly greater impact on daily smoking than on dependence. Correlates of smoking behaviors are mostly common across racial/ethnic groups, although parental and peer smoking are significant for Whites and Hispanics but not for African Americans.

Conclusions: There are more common than unique correlates of each smoking stage and across racial/ethnic groups. Primary prevention and interventions addressing the factors tested could be uniform for most chronic smokers irrespective of dependence status and race/ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology