Smoking Social Norms Among Young Adults in New York City

  • Indira DebchoudhuryEmail author
  • Pamela Ling
  • Rachel Sacks
  • Shannon M. Farley
Original Paper


More than half of young adult (YA) (ages 18–26) smokers are non-daily smokers. While standard cessation methods are generally successful with adults and daily smokers, there is evidence that they are not as successful among non-daily smokers or young adults. Additionally, YA smokers are also in a transition period to regular smoking, making research on understanding how interpersonal and environmental factors affect this group of smokers critical. Randomized time location sampling was used to create a sample of New York City YA bar patrons between June and November 2013, who completed a self-administered survey (1,916 surveys). Questions were asked about perceived smoking social norms, stigma, behaviors, and demographics. Overall, almost half of the YA reported being current smokers (44.1%); one-third were non-daily smokers (36.7%) and less than ten percent were daily smokers (7.4%). Non-daily smokers compared with daily smokers had greater odds of believing New Yorkers disapproved of smoking [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj 1.76, 95 % CI 1.10–2.79)], keeping tobacco a secret from certain people (ORadj 1.84, 1.14–2.96) and feeling guilty when smoking (ORadj: 2.54; 1.45–4.45). Non-daily smokers had 41% lower odds of reporting how people who are important to you disapproved of smoking than daily smokers (ORadj: 0.59; 0.38–0.94). Further studies of interpersonal/environmental factors among YA smokers may support modifications to cessation programs that result in more successful YA quit attempts.


Smoking Young adults Social norms New York City 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to report.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Indira Debchoudhury
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pamela Ling
    • 2
  • Rachel Sacks
    • 1
  • Shannon M. Farley
    • 1
  1. 1.Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco ControlNew York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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