Ecological momentary assessment of smoking behaviors in native and converted intermittent smokers

Andrea Stennett, Nicolle M. Krebs, Jason Liao, John P. Richie, Joshua E. Muscat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: About 22% of adult smokers in the U.S. are intermittent cigarette smokers (ITS). ITS can be further classified as native ITS who never smoked daily and converted ITS who formerly smoked daily but reduced to intermittent smoking. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was conducted to determine the behaviors and experiences that are associated with the decision to smoke. Methods: The study included 24 native ITS and 36 converted ITS (N = 60) from the Pennsylvania Adult Smoking Study. A baseline questionnaire, daily log, and an EMA smoking log that assessed emotions, activities, and smoking urges was filled out with each cigarette for 1 week to capture 574 smoking sessions. Results: Both groups had very low levels of cigarette dependence. Both groups were more tempted to smoke in positive or negative situations than situations associated with habituation. EMA showed that the most common emotional state during smoking sessions was positive (47%), followed by negative (32%), neutral (16%), and mixed (5%) emotions. Smokers were more likely to smoke during activities of leisure (48%) than during performative duties (29%), social (16%) or interactive occasions (7%). Converted ITS were more likely to smoke alone compared to native ITS (p <.001). Discussion and Conclusions: ITS report minimal levels of dependence when captured on traditional scales of nicotine dependence, yet experience loss of autonomy and difficulty quitting. The majority of the ITS reported positive emotions and leisure activities while smoking, and smoked during the evening. Scientific Significance: The current paper identifies environmental and behavioral factors that are associated with smoking among ITS in real time. (Am J Addict 2018;27:131–138).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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