1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
Heavy Cigarette Use (Table 8.6)
Marked differences in the prevalence of heavy smoking were observed according to age group, race/ethnicity, adult education, and adult employment status. In particular, adults were about five to seven times more likely than youths aged 12 to 17 to be heavy smokers. Moreover, compared with the estimates of current smoking in Table 8.3, only about 1 in 10 adolescents who were current smokers also were heavy smokers. In comparison, more than one in four young adult current smokers were heavy smokers, and among current smokers aged 35 or older, more than half were heavy smokers.
Whites were more than twice as likely as blacks to be heavy smokers (15% vs. 7%, respectively), even though the rates of current smoking among whites and blacks aged 12 or older did not differ significantly. In addition, whites were more than three times as likely as Hispanics to be heavy smokers. Blacks also were significantly more likely than Hispanics to be heavy smokers. Compared with estimates of current smoking inTable 8.3, nearly half of whites who were current smokers were heavy smokers, about one-fourth of black current smokers were heavy smokers, and only about one in six Hispanic current smokers were heavy smokers.
The inverse relationship between education (among those aged 18 or older) and any current smoking also held for education and heavy smoking. However, only 17% of college graduates had smoked cigarettes in the past month. In comparison, 8% of college graduates were heavy smokers. Thus, nearly half of the college graduates who were current smokers also were heavy smokers. This proportion of heavy smokers among college graduates who were current smokers was comparable to the proportions of heavy smokers among current smokers who had a high school education or less. About 39% of current smokers with some college education were heavy smokers.
As was the case with any smoking in the past month, unemployed adults had a significantly higher rate of heavy smoking compared with adults in the other employment status groups. Adults who were employed full-time also had a significantly higher rate of heavy smoking compared with adults who were employed part-time or adults in the "other" employment category. However, nearly half (47%) of full-time employed adults who were current smokers also were heavy smokers, a rate that was comparable to those among unemployed current smokers and current smokers in the "other" employment category. In comparison, heavy smokers comprised about 36% of current smokers in the part-time employed group.
20 The estimates for "less than a pack a day" and "a pack or more a day" in Table 8.6 differ from the estimated prevalence of past month cigarette use in Table 8.3 because of missing data on the number of cigarettes smoked per day in the past month. Past month smokers were excluded from the analysis in Table 8.6 if they did not report the number of cigarettes they smoked per day in the past 30 days.
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