Adolescent smoking trajectories and nicotine dependence

Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Feb;10(2):341-51. doi: 10.1080/14622200701838257.


The present study correlates empirically constructed prospective adolescent smoking trajectories with indicators of nicotine dependence assessed in adolescence and in adulthood. Excluding individuals who reported no smoking during repeat assessment (nonadopters), we identified five smoking trajectory groups: experimenters (n=116, 48.5%), late increasers (n=39, 16.3%), early increasers (n=37, 15.5%), quitters (n=22, 9.2%), and persistent smokers (n=25, 10.5%). Higher frequency of nicotine dependence symptoms in adolescence occurred in the quitters and persistent smokers groups, who smoked at higher levels relative to the experimenters, late increasers, and early increasers groups, who reported a similar frequency of nicotine dependence symptoms and smoked at low levels. Lifetime nicotine dependence was assessed in adulthood in lifetime daily smokers using the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) and the Nicotine Dependence Scale (NDS). Lifetime FTND levels were similar across trajectory groups. Relative to experimenters, all remaining smoking trajectory groups had higher NDS levels that were similar to one another. These results suggest that higher levels of adolescent nicotine dependence were associated with heavier smoking trajectory groups, and that regardless of trajectory group membership, smoking more than a few cigarettes per week throughout adolescence resulted in similar levels of lifetime nicotine dependence as measured by the FTND and NDS.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peer Group
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology