The natural history of college smoking: Trajectories of daily smoking during the freshman year

Craig R. Colder*, Elizabeth E. Lloyd-Richardson, Brian P. Flaherty, Donald Hedeker, Eisuke Segawa, Brian R. Flay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Although the initiation of cigarette use typically occurs prior to age 18, there is evidence for considerable change in smoking behavior after this age. College may be a particularly important period to study smoking because it is a time when adolescents transition into a new social context where substance use is normative. Using a longitudinal design, daily assessments of smoking were collected during the entire first year of college for a large cohort of freshman (N = 496). Findings suggested a weekly cycle of smoking such that the probability of smoking was much higher on weekends (Friday and Saturday) than on remaining days of the week. In addition to this weekly cycle, there was an overall trend for smoking to decline over the course of the year. Substantial individual variability in levels of smoking was observed. These findings provide new insights into college smoking, and have implications for assessment, policy, intervention, and future directions for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2212-2222
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • College students
  • Smoking
  • Trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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