According to a study, very light smoking (defined as less than five cigarettes a day) is becoming more and more popular for young females entering adulthood. Published in the journal of Preventing Chronic Disease, the study was conducted by Xiaoyin Li and colleagues, who reviewed a 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the United States. The study surveyed over 9,700 women, ages 18 to 25 years old.
Results of the study indicate that programs aimed at helping the public quit smoking should also be targeted very light smokers, who tend to be: young, part of a minority group, with some college education, and generally not married. Other characteristics of these very light smokers, which can be similar to other smokers, include: depression/anxiety tendencies, and the misuse of other substances. Unlike other smokers, very light smokers see the negative impact of smoking, might not necessarily have a dependency on nicotine, and are less likely to take the habit on daily.
According to Medical News Today the study performed noted that very light smoking has become quite common for young women, and the team focused on the characteristics between these smokers, as well as light smokers (6 to 16 cigarettes per day), and also heavier smokers (16 plus cigarettes daily).
The study results revealed that of those women who smoked, (making up 30.3% of the survey) most of the young women were very light smokers at 62.4%; light smokers were 26.7%; and 10.8% were heavy smokers. Approximately 71.3 % of those very light female smokers surveyed did not smoke daily. In addition, of the females surveyed, 41.6% said they never smoked, and 28.2% had quit smoking.
Other tidbits revealed: the non-smoking females were less likely to report depression or anxiety issues, versus the very light ones. Also, the non-smokers were also less likely to binge drink or use drugs, unlike the very light smokers.
The findings of the study were consistent with previous research that has been conducted indicating that women were more likely to gear towards very light or light smoking, rather than heavy and daily smoking. The authors of the study note that these findings can help provide insight on the characteristics of very light smoking females, entering adulthood; which can further assist health educators and health care providers working with young females when it comes to informing them on the risks of any level of smoking.