An evaluation of self-report measures of cigarette use in nondaily smokers
Wray, Jennifer M.
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A large subset of individuals who smoke cigarettes are not regular, heavy users, but the majority of studies on smoking exclude participants who smoke at lower levels. Rates of nondaily smoking are growing, but the assessments used to collect data on cigarette consumption in this population have not been rigorously evaluated. The current study examined different self-report approaches to the assessment of cigarette use in a sample of nondaily smokers and compared cigarettes smoked over a 28-day period to biomarkers of nicotine exposure (i.e., expired carbon monoxide, hair nicotine, and hair cotinine). Individuals who smoked 1-29 days of the past 30 and ≤ 15 cigarettes on an average smoking day were recruited. Eligible participants (n=197) attended six study sessions. Self-reported number of cigarettes smoked over the first 28 days of the study was assessed at Session 5 via two Quantity Frequency measures, a Graduated Frequency measure, and a Timeline Follow Back interview. In addition, half of the participants were randomly assigned to a Daily Monitoring condition, requiring a Daily Report of the number of cigarettes smoked in the previous 24 hours. Hair nicotine, hair cotinine, and expired carbon monoxide (CO) were collected from each participant. Total cigarettes over the past 28 days reported via Daily Report were strongly correlated with all Session 5 measures of total cigarettes, but were most strongly associated with Timeline Follow Back total cigarettes. CO and hair nicotine were the biomarkers most strongly correlated with total cigarettes. Results from this study strongly support Daily Report and Timeline Follow Back methods of assessing cigarette use in nondaily smokers. Results also support the use of CO as an appropriate biological marker of exposure in nondaily smokers, and point to some limitations in the use of hair nicotine and hair cotinine in this sample.