Protocol - Tobacco - Age of Offset of Cigarette Use - Adolescent

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Measurement to ascertain when the respondent quit smoking. Response is used to calculate duration of use and pack-years measures and allows one to distinguish recent quitters from long-time quitters.

Specific Instructions:

Respondent is asked how long it has been since he or she smoked and how old he or she was when he or she last smoked only if he or she answered "yes" to the first question of the Tobacco - Smoking Status (Adolescent Protocol).

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.


1. How long has it been since you last smoked part or all of a cigarette?

1 [ ] More than 30 days ago but within the past 12 months

2 [ ] More than 12 months ago but within the past 3 years

3 [ ] More than 3 years ago

[ ] DK/REF

2. Earlier the computer recorded that you last smoked part or all of a cigarette [input response to Question 1]. How old were you the last time you smoked part or all of a cigarette?

AGE:_____[RANGE: 1-110]

Don’t Know / Refused

Protocol Name from Source:

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)


Publicly available

Personnel and Training Required

Interviewer must be trained and found competent to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.

Equipment Needs

While the source instrument was developed for administration by computer, the PhenX Expert Review Panel acknowledges that 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:



Adolescents 12-17

Selection Rationale

The protocol from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was selected because this survey is the primary combined source of information on the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States. The study was initiated in 1971, and it is currently conducted on an annual basis. The NSDUH is a survey that includes all substance use and that is administered to individuals age 12 and older. This survey asks many additional questions that may be more relevant to investigators studying adolescent subjects.


English, Spanish

Common Data Elements (CDE) Adolescent Cigarette Smoking Cessation Age Year Count 2923481 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:

• Changed name of measure

• Updated protocol

• New Data Dictionary

Back-compatible: Partially back-compatible (updated/similar protocol which would require some changes to the data dictionary), variable mapping between current and previous protocols can be found here.

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)


2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. CAI Specifications for Programming, English Version; November 2015 (questions CG06 and LU03).

General References


Protocol ID:


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

Tobacco - Age of Offset of Cigarette Use

Release Date:

November 21, 2016


Questions asking a former smoker respondent how long it has been since s/he has quit smoking.


This measure assesses when the participant’s exposure to cigarette smoking ended. When this measure is used in conjunction with the Tobacco - Age of Initiation of Use measure, the participant’s duration of smoking can be derived. Pack-years can also be derived from calculating the measure of amount smoked and duration.


tobacco, smoking, cigarette, nicotine, nicotine dependence, duration of smoking, pack years, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH