Psychopharmacology

, Volume 207, Issue 3, pp 343–363 | Cite as

Light and intermittent cigarette smokers: a review (1989–2009)

  • Chris R. E. Coggins
  • E. Lenn Murrelle
  • Richard A. Carchman
  • Christian Heidbreder
Review

Abstract

Rationale

Growing proportions of smokers in the USA do not smoke everyday and can be referred to as light and intermittent smokers (LITS). Despite a current prevalence of LITS in the USA estimated at 25–33% of all smokers, a systematic review of the literature on this group of smokers has yet to be written.

Objectives

The aim of this paper is to review and evaluate research on LITS and to identify, describe and discuss commonalities and differences between LITS and daily smokers.

Methods

The primary databases used to search for publications were Pub Med (National Library of Medicine) and SCOPUS (Elsevier).

Results

LITS inhale smoke and have post-smoking blood nicotine concentrations that are broadly equivalent to those found in daily smokers. However, LITS differ from daily smokers with regard to cigarette consumption and frequency of cigarette use, sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics, motives, personality traits, dependence, withdrawal and craving, response to smoking-related cues, quitting perception, past-smoking status, and initiation.

Conclusions

In contrast to daily smokers, LITS show few or no signs of dependence as currently defined by DSM-IV criteria, appear to exercise more self-control, seem to be less impulsive, and their smoking experience is primarily associated with positive rather than negative reinforcement. Conclusions drawn from the reviewed literature highlight the multivariate factors that must be taken into account when defining LITS and emphasize the importance of further research on this increasing fraction of smokers. The potential implications of increased LITS prevalence on smoking-related disease risks remain to be thoroughly investigated.

Keywords

Binge drinking Chippers Epidemiology Health risk Low-frequency smoking Nicotine Nicotine dependence Non-daily smoking Personality traits 

Abbreviations

BAC

blood alcohol curve

BAES

Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale

CHIS

California Health Interview Survey

CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDS

Cigarette Dependence Scale

cpd

cigarettes per day

cpm

cigarettes per month

cpw

cigarettes per week

CO

carbon monoxide

CTS

California Tobacco Survey

DSM

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

EMA

Ecological Momentary Assessment

FMD

flow-mediated vasodilatation

FTND

Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence

FTQ

Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire

HONC

Hooked on Nicotine Checklist

LITS

light and intermittent smokers

NDSS

nicotine dependence syndrome scale

NDSS-T

nicotine dependence syndrome scale-total

NESARC

National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

NHIS

National Health Interview Survey

NIAAA

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

QSU

Questionnaire on Smoking Urges

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris R. E. Coggins
    • 1
  • E. Lenn Murrelle
    • 2
    • 3
  • Richard A. Carchman
    • 4
  • Christian Heidbreder
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Carson Watts ConsultingKingUSA
  2. 2.Research, Development & EngineeringAltria Client ServicesRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Venebio Group LLCVirginia Bio-Technology Research ParkRichmondUSA
  4. 4.Virginia Bio-Technology Research ParkStatSolvers LLCRichmondUSA
  5. 5.Reckitt Benckiser PharmaceuticalsRichmondUSA

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