The total sample was equally distributed between men and women. The sample was ethnically diverse, with 61% identifying themselves as White American, 13.9% as African American, 18.3% as Hispanic American, 3.9% as other non-Hispanic, and 3.0% as biracial non-Hispanic. Most participants had a high school education, with 30.5% reporting a high school degree as their highest level of education, 36.0% with some college, and 12.5% having obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher. With regard to employment and income level, 57.5% of the respondents were paid employees, and the median annual income was between $25000 and $35000. The smokers in this sample did not differ in income, race, or education from the total sample.
Smoking Prevalence and Social Smoking Definitions
Overall smoking prevalence in this sample was 30% (n=455). All measures of social smoking were asked of young adult smokers. Of all smokers, 62% (n=282) either identified themselves as social smokers or behaved as a social smoker (i.e., smoked only with others or mainly with others). The remaining 38% (n=173) of the smokers who did not identify themselves as social smokers or report social smoking behaviors were categorized as established smokers. When we allowed for overlap between different social smoking categories, 54% of smokers (n=244) self-identified as social smokers, 30% (n=133) reported smoking mainly with others, and 10% (n=47) reported smoking only with others. depicts the number of respondents who fit the different definitions of social smoking and the number belonging to more than 1 category.
Frequency of Smoking Behaviors Across Smoking Definitions in National Survey of Young Adults Aged 18–25 Years (n=1528): United States, 2005
We found an overlap between self-identified and behavioral social smokers. Within the group of smokers who self-identified as social smokers, 43% (n=105) also reported social smoking behaviors (i.e., smoking mainly with others or smoking only with others). Specifically, 36 participants self-identified as social smokers and reported both smoking mainly and only with others, 61 self-identified as social smokers and reported smoking mainly with others, and 8 self-identified as social smokers and reported smoking only with others. By contrast, the majority of behavioral social smokers (73%; n=105), also self-identified as social smokers. In subsequent analyses of self-identified social smokers, we examined quitting intentions and behaviors of those who only self-identified as social smokers (but did not report social smoking behaviors).
The 2 types of social smoking behaviors, smoking mainly with others and smoking only with others, demonstrated overlap as well. Thirty-seven of the 133 respondents who reported mainly smoking with others also reported only smoking with others.
Social Smoking and Intentions to Quit
The relationship between social smoking and intentions to quit differed by definitions of social smoking (). The unadjusted odds ratio (OR) of intentions to quit in the next 6 months was not significant for those who self-identified as social smokers compared with those who were established smokers, but the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of having intentions to quit was significant (AOR=0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.70, 0.98).
Predictors of Intentions to Quit Within the Next 6 Months Among Young Surveyed Adults Aged 18–25 Years: United States, 2005
We saw the opposite relationship with behavioral social smoking definitions. Smoking mainly with others and smoking only with others were positively related to intentions to quit within the next 6 months. The unadjusted OR of having intentions to quit was not significant in univariate analysis, but multivariate analysis showed a significant relationship between intentions to quit and smoking mainly with others, with an AOR of 1.66 (95% CI=1.05, 2.63) for those who smoke mainly with others, compared with all other smokers (those who smoke alone).
We saw a similar relationship with smoking only with others. The unadjusted OR was not significant, but in the multivariate analysis, smoking only with others was significantly associated with intentions to quit, with an AOR of 2.02 (95% CI=1.02, 3.97) for those who smoke only with others, compared with all other smokers (who smoke alone sometimes).
Significant racial/ethnic differences in intentions to quit also were shown. Across all 3 multivariate analyses predicting intentions to quit, African American smokers, regardless of social smoking status, consistently showed greater intentions to quit compared with Whites, with ORs ranging from 2.53 (95% CI=1.28, 4.98) to 2.70 (95% CI=1.36, 5.36). There were no other significant racial/ethnic, gender, education, or income differences.
Social Smoking and Quitting Behaviors
All 3 social smoking definitions were significantly related to quitting for1month or longer, although in different directions (). Similar to results seen with intentions to quit, self-identification as a social smoker (without smoking mainly or only with others) was negatively related to quitting for 1 month or longer. Compared with established smokers, the unadjusted OR of quitting for 1 month or longer for self-identified social smokers was 0.50 (95% CI=0.42, 0.60). This relationship remained significant in multivariate analyses; the AOR of quitting was 0.54 (95% CI=0.45, 0.66).
Predictors of Quitting Smoking for 1 Month or Longer Among Surveyed Young Adults Aged 18–25 Years: United States, 2005
We saw the inverse relationship with behavioral social smoking. Smoking mainly and only with others was positively related to quitting smoking for a month or longer in both univariate and multivariate analyses. The AOR of quitting smoking was 4.33 (95% CI=2.68, 7.00) for those who mainly smoke with others, compared with all other smokers. The AOR of quitting for 1 month or longer was 6.82 (95% CI=3.29, 14.15) for those who only smoke with others, compared with other smokers.
Income level was also significantly related to quitting behaviors. In all 3 multivariate analyses, the ORs of making a quit attempt ranged from 1.23 to 1.24 for each level increase in income, independent of social smoking status. Hispanic Americans also made more quit attempts than did Whites, with ORs ranging from 2.06 to 2.88 in all multivariate analyses.