Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the relative proportion of hardcore smokers (HCS) in Norway for the years 1996-2009.
Methods: Data were derived from Statistics Norway's annually cross-sectional representative samples of the adult population. The total sample size of smokers each year was between 250 and 500. The outcome measure was HCS, defined by their intention not to quit smoking and absence of attempts to quit during the last 12 months. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to estimate the association between time (survey year) and the number of HCS.
Results: We identified three groups of smokers: occasional smokers, daily non-HCS, and HCS. The relative proportion of HCS declined in the period 1996-2009, from 30% to 23%. A model adjusted for gender, age, educational level, and the use of snus (smokeless tobacco) showed the same downward trend.
Conclusions: Within this sample of Norwegian smokers, the relative share of HCS is not increasing. This knowledge is important for tobacco prevention policy. The result does not support a hardening hypothesis regarding changes in the size of the group of HCS. Further analysis is needed to investigate individual resistance to smoking cessation.