More Young Women Attracted to Social Smoking
The habit of “social smoking” is on the rise among young American women, according to new research led by the Centers Disease Control (CDC). These “very light” smokers said they associated smoking with independence, sophistication and attractiveness.
For the study, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, the researchers looked at 9,789 women between the ages of 18 and 25 years who took part in the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the United States. While slighly more than 40 percent of the women surveyed said they never smoked, the study found that among the young adult female smokers in the US:
- 62.4 percent were very light smokers (fewer than five cigarettes a day)
- 26.7 percent were light smokers
- 10.8 percent were heavier smokers.
About 71.3 percent of the very light smokers said they did not smoke every day. The very light smokers were also found to be more likely than other smokers to recognize high risks in smoking and less likely to report nicotine dependence.
But the very light smokers were also found to be more likely than nonsmokers to report depression and psychological distress in the past month. Also, women who never smoked were less likely than very light smokers to binge drink or use illegal drugs.
The trend toward more social smoking runs counter to the overall drop in smoking in the U.S. during the past two decades. The study’s authors concluded that the profile of the female social smoker is unique enough from the general smoker profile that more customized smoking cessation programs would need to be developed for them.