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Keywords:

  • Age; birth cohort; calendar year; smoking behaviors; smoking prevalence; U.S. population

We present methods for estimating five-year birth-cohort-specific trends in smoking behavior for individuals born between 1910 and 1984. We combine cross-sectional survey data on smoking behavior from the National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) conducted between 1965 and 2001 into a single data set. The cumulative incidence of smoking by year of age and calendar year is constructed for each birth cohort from this data set and the effect of differential mortality on ever smoking prevalence is adjusted by modeling the ever smoking prevalence of each cohort for each survey year and back extrapolating that effect to age 30. Cumulative incidence is then scaled to match the ever smoking prevalence at age 30. Survival analyses generate the cumulative cessation among ever smokers across year of age and calendar year and are used to estimate current smoking prevalence. Data from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health is used to divide those initiating smoking into quintiles of number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and the mean CPD for each quintile in each calendar year is estimated from the NHIS data. For five-year birth cohorts of white, african-american, Hispanic and all race/ethnicity groupings of males and females born between 1910 and 1984, estimates are provided for prevalence of current and ever smoking, incidence of cessation, incidence of initiation, and the distribution of smoking duration and CPD for each calendar year and each single year of age through the year 1999. We believe that we are the first to provide birth-cohort-specific estimates of smoking behaviors for the U.S. population that include distributions of duration of smoking and number of cigarettes per day. These additional elements substantively enhance the utility of these estimates for estimating lung cancer risks.