Background Despite declining US adolescent smoking prevalence from 40% among 12th graders in 1995 to around 10% in 2018, adolescent smoking is still a significant problem. Using the International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohort (i3C) Consortium, which includes 7 international cohorts recruited in childhood and followed into adulthood, the present study was designed to confirm the important relation between adolescent smoking and daily adult smoking and present new data on adult smoking into the forties and comparison of smoking in the United States, Finland, and Australia. Methods and Results Childhood smoking experience during ages 6 to 19 in the 1970s and 1980s was classifiable in 6687 i3C participants who also provided smoking status in their twenties and forties through 2011-2018. Prevalence of daily smoking in their twenties was directly related to degree of smoking during adolescence and inversely related to the age at which that smoking experience occurred (P trend, <0.001). Similar patterns were observed for prediction of smoking during age forties. Among the 2465 smokers in their twenties, cessation by their forties was generally inverse to degree of smoking in ages 6 to 19 (P trend, <0.001). Prevalence of smoking during adolescence and adulthood was similar among US, Finnish, and Australian participants. Conclusions These long-term follow-up data show that smoking intensity increased throughout adolescence. Prevalence of adult smoking and cessation by the forties were both correlated with levels of childhood smoking intensity. These data lend support to preventive strategies designed to reduce, delay, or eliminate any youth access to cigarettes.
Keywords: adult smoking; childhood smoking intensity; public policy; smoking; smoking cessation.