Measuring nicotine dependence among high-risk adolescent smokers

Addict Behav. 1996 Jan-Feb;21(1):117-27. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(96)00048-2.


In the present study we tested our hypothesis that because of the higher prevalence and greater intensity of cigarette smoking among vocational-technical students (N = 110; 51.8% males; mean age 17 years), adolescents might demonstrate the nicotine dependence patterns comparable to those measured in a similar fashion in a group of adult smokers (N = 173; 50% males; mean age 42 years). A modified version of the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire (FTQ) utilized in the adolescent sample was coded to make it comparable to the original FTQ used in the adult sample. The tests of item structure and internal consistency of the modified FTQ for adolescents were satisfactory; the overall mean FTQ score correlated significantly with the intensity and duration of smoking. Although the FTQ values were generally lower in the adolescent sample, 20% of students had an overall FTQ score of 6 and above, indicating substantial nicotine dependence (compared to 49% in adults). Reasons for failure of the existing adolescent smoking cessation programs as well as the rationale for adding a nicotine replacement option to the behavioral smoking cessation treatment for a subset of high-risk nicotine-dependent adolescents are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*


  • Nicotine