Objectives: We compared the association between 3 different definitions of social smoking-a common pattern of smoking among young adults-and cessation indicators.
Methods: We used a Web-enabled, cross-sectional national survey of 1528 young adults (aged 18-25 years) from a panel (recruited by random-digit dialing) maintained by the research group Knowledge Networks.
Results: Among 455 smokers, 62% self-identified or behaved as social smokers. Compared with established smokers, self-identified social smokers were less likely to have cessation intentions (odds ratio [OR] = 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.70, 0.98) and cessation attempts lasting 1 month or longer (OR = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.45, 0.66). Behavioral social smokers (mainly or only smoking with others) were more likely than were self-identified social smokers (those who did not report these behavior patterns) to have cessation intentions (mainly OR(mainly) = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.05, 2.63; and OR(only) = 2.02; 95% CI = 1.02, 3.97) and cessation attempts (OR(mainly) = 4.33; 95% CI = 2.68, 7.00; and OR(only) = 6.82; 95% CI = 3.29, 14.15).
Conclusions: Self-identified social smokers may be considered a high-risk group with particular challenges for cessation. Behavioral social smokers may represent a group primed for cessation. Public health efforts should address these differences when developing smoking cessation strategies.