Protocol - Cigarette Smoking Status - Adolescent

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Measurement to determine respondent’s cigarette smoking status.

Specific Instructions:

Respondents could be asked up to three questions: (1) have they ever smoked; (2) if they have smoked, when was the last time they smoked; and (3) a question to determine if the respondent who has used in the past 30 days is a daily smoker.


The Working Group acknowledges that the following questions may gather sensitive information relating to the use of substances and/or illegal conduct. If the information is released it might be damaging to an individual’s employability, lead to social stigmatization, or other consequences.

For information on obtaining a Certificate of Confidentiality, which helps researchers protect the privacy of human research participants, please go to the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Institutional Review Board website.

Note to interviewer: Based on responses provided to earlier questions, the respondent may also be asked Questions 2, 3, and 4 (see interviewer notes before these questions).

1. Have you ever tried cigarette smoking, even one or two puffs?

[ ] 1 Yes

[ ] 2 No

[ ] -8 DON’T KNOW

[ ] -7 REFUSED

If Question 1 is "Yes," then respondent is asked:

2. When was the last time you smoked a cigarette, even one or two puffs?

[ ] 1 Earlier today

[ ] 2 Not today but sometime in the past 7 days

[ ] 3 Not in the past 7 days but sometime in the past 30 days

[ ] 4 Not in the past 30 days but sometime in the past 6 months

[ ] 5 Not in the past 6 months but sometime in the past year

[ ] 6 1 to 4 years ago

[ ] 7 5 or more years ago

[ ] -8 DON’T KNOW

[ ] -7 REFUSED

If Question 2 is "1", “2”, or “3” (Past 30-Day Smoker), then respondent is asked:

3. In the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke cigarettes?

[ ] 1 I__I__I DAYS

[ ] -8 DON’T KNOW

[ ] -7 REFUSED

Interpreting responses to assess smoking status of adolescents:

  • If answer to Question 1 is "No," then respondent is a "Never smoker."
  • If answer to Question 1 is "Yes" and answer to Question 2 is "DON’T KNOW" or “REFUSED” then status is a "Ever-smoker."
  • If answer to Question 1 is "Yes" and answer to Question 2 is ""1,, “2”, or “3" then status is a "Past 30-day smoker."
  • If answer to Question 2 is “1”, “2”, or “3” and Question 3 is "30 days," then respondent is a "Past 30-day Every-Day Smoker."
Protocol Name from Source:

Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study Wave 3


Publicly available

Personnel and Training Required

If an interviewer prepares the survey for self-administration, the interviewer must be trained and found to be competent to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population.

Equipment Needs

While the source instrument was developed to be administered by computer, the PhenX Working Group acknowledges these questions can be administered in a noncomputerized format.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered questionnaire

Life Stage:



12 through 17 years of age*

* If the study population consists of adolescents and young adults (12-24 years) with the intention of studying onset of risky behaviors, the investigator may wish to use the adolescent profile. If the study population primarily consists of adults (≥18 years), emphasizing established smoking and/or cessation, the investigator should use the adult profile.

Selection Rationale

The protocol from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study was selected because this studyy is the most comprehensive study on tobacco use in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States. The study was initiated in 2011 and is currently conducted on an annual basis. The PATH Study is a longitudinal cohort study that includes tobacco product specific use questionsand is administered to individuals ages 12 years and older. This study asks many additional questions that may be more relevant to investigators studying adolescent subjects.


English, Spanish

Common Data Elements (CDE) adolescent tobacco smoking history indicator 2923486 CDE Browser
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #3 (ERP 3) reviewed the measures in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances, and Substance Abuse and Addiction domains.

Guidance from ERP 3 includes:

• Updated protocol

• New Data Dictionary

Back-compatible: Not back-compatible (vastly different than previous protocol which would require a new data dictionary) and not recommended for use (discredited or no longer considered broadly validated)

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)


National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015). Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study: Attachment 2 PATH Study Data Collection Instruments_Wave 3: 2a.5 - English Youth: Aged-Up Extended Interview, 2015-06-10. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health. [http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAICList?ref_nbr=201506-0925-002]

General References

Ambrose BK, Day HR, Rostron B, et al. Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among US Youth Aged 12-17 Years, 2013-2014. JAMA. 2015;314(17):1871-1873. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.13802.

Protocol ID:


Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances
Measure Name:

Cigarette Smoking Status

Release Date:

November 21, 2016


Questions asking the respondent about smoking status in his or her entire life.


This measure can be used to assess the participant’s lifetime exposure to cigarette use, it determines smoking status, i.e., if they are a Current Every-Day Smoker or a Current Some-Day Smoker, a Former Smoker, or a Non Smoker or a Never Smoker.


tobacco, smoking, cigarette, exposure, smoking status, second-hand smoke (SHS) or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), nicotine, nicotine dependence, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH, US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, PreventionTobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, TUS-CPS, NCI, Centers for Disease Control, CDC