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Young Adult Smoking Behavior: Implications for Future Population Health

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Objective : To qualitatively project the future health burden of tobacco from present-day young adult smoking behavior.

Methods : Population surveys in California (2002) and nationally (1978-80, 2001-03).

Results : In 2002, 40 of California young adult smokers were nondaily smokers, 24 had quit at some time for >6 months, 45 said they smoked less now than previously, and 68 thought they would quit within 5 years. Interest in quitting was high, and most were actively engaged in the smoking cessation process. Young adult smoking behavior changed from 1978-80 to 2001-03.

Conclusion : The future health burden from smoking will be less for the current generation of young adults.

Keywords: smoking; smoking cessation; smoking initiation; young adults

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Emeritus, Clinical Professor of Biostatistics, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Publication date: September 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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