Objective: This article presents the development of a new smoking status, the "phantom smokers," who do not view themselves as smokers but report smoking cigarettes.
Participants: Students from 2 universities in Michigan (N = 899; October 2005) and Florida (N = 1,517; May 2006) participated in surveys.
Methods: Respondents in Michigan completed measures regarding smoking status and tobacco use, and respondents in Florida completed measures regarding smoking status, tobacco use, smoking consequences, and norms.
Results: The studies identify the incidence of phantom smokers (29.6% in Michigan and 5.5% in Florida). Different questions resulted in different smoking rates. Phantom smokers expect more negative affect reduction and social facilitation from smoking than nonsmokers. Phantom smokers display ambivalent attitudes toward a typical smoker's image. They experience less pressure to change their smoking behavior than smokers.
Conclusion: Phantom smokers' dissociation from smokers should be recognized and targeted as a distinct group for antismoking messages.