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Estimates of Cigarette Smoking From the NJ Adult Tobacco Survey: Real or Spurious

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Objective : To explore, post hoc, whether a large decline in smoking estimates between the 2005 and 2006 New Jersey Adult Tobacco Surveys is real or spurious given various methodological and environmental changes between the 2 time periods of data collection.

Methods : Using multiple data sources, we explored survey timing, poststratification approach, midinterview terminations, wireless substitution, and question order.

Results : Changes in question order were likely responsible for the majority of the unexpected decline in smoking prevalence; to a lesser degree, wireless substitution and midinterview terminations also likely contributed to an artificially exaggerated decline.

Conclusion : Methodological changes can artificially affect trends in prevalence estimates.

Keywords: cigarette smoking; response rates; surveillance; survey bias; survey methods

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Associate Professor, UMDNJ-School of Public Health, New Brunswick, NJ.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • 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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