Smoking patterns and dependence: contrasting chippers and heavy smokers

J Abnorm Psychol. 2006 Aug;115(3):509-23. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.115.3.509.


The authors used ecological momentary assessment to contrast smoking patterns among chippers (CHs; n = 26)--smokers who smoke despite an apparent absence of tobacco dependence--with those seen in heavy smokers (HSs; n = 28). Smoking and nonsmoking settings (activity, mood, etc.) were assessed by means of electronic diary. CHs were not social smokers; like HSs, they smoked half their cigarettes while alone. When smoking, CHs' urge levels equaled those of HSs; between cigarettes, CHs had few urges, whereas HSs reported moderate urges. CHs' smoking was particularly associated with indulgent activities: relaxation, socializing, eating, and drinking alcohol. Outside of these indulgent settings, CHs' (but not HSs') smoking was associated with negative affect. In idiographic analyses, CHs' smoking was under much stronger stimulus control than was that of HSs. The authors propose that the disappearance of stimulus control over use is a characteristic of dependence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*