Data indicate that while smoking prevalence was decreasing for all other age groups in the mid 1990s, smoking prevalence increased for young adults and remains among the highest of all age groups. Moreover, young adults without a college degree smoke at twice the rate of their college-educated counterparts. Thus, tobacco use is likely to remain the number one cause of premature death and disability into the next generation of young adult smokers. Given their high mobility rate and the sizeable proportion attending college, there has not been an effective mechanism by which to sample young adults for tobacco surveillance. However, wireless substitution, which is creating a challenge for traditional random-digit-dialed surveys that generate a sample of landline household telephone numbers, may actually minimize or even eliminate prior methodological issues in research related to young adults. As of 2008, cell phone ownership approached 90 percent among young adults. Little research exists on strategies to enhance the inclusion of young adults in tobacco surveillance. The proposed research responds to NIH PAR-08-212: Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences and describes a plan to improve the inclusion of young adults in tobacco control surveillance and research via the development and implementation of a new innovative sample design specific to this population. Accordingly, we will: 1) develop and implement an innovative sample design to reach young adults and generate nationally representative tobacco control data for this underrepresented group, 2) examine and compare the viability of our sampling approach with traditional methods such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a state level RDD survey;the National Health Interview Survey, which utilizes an area probability sample;and the Harvard College Alcohol Survey, a college-based sample, 3) examine the stability of a cell phone RDD sampling approach over time by administering two waves of data collection, and 4) update the tobacco control knowledge base on young adults by analyzing our tobacco-specific survey data with respect to the use of other tobacco products, cessation of tobacco, attitudes towards tobacco control policies, and participation in tobacco industry marketing practices. The significance of this proposed research is its potential to improve the quality and scientific power of data collected on tobacco use behavior among young adults, which is critical to informing tobacco control programs and policies.

Public Health Relevance

Smoking prevalence among young adults remains among the highest of all age groups. However, research and surveillance activities face many challenges in reaching this diverse and highly mobile population group. The rapid growth of wireless substitution in many households introduces significant problems for traditional telephone surveys that rely on sampling landline telephone numbers but may actually minimize prior challenges to sampling young adults. The proposed research on cell phone sampling will improve the quality and scientific power of data collected on tobacco use behavior among young adults and helps to inform tobacco control programs and policies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-K (51))
Program Officer
Hartman, Anne
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ
Schools of Public Health
New Brunswick
United States
Zip Code
Giovenco, Daniel P; Gundersen, Daniel A; Delnevo, Cristine D (2016) Reaching a representative sample of college students: A comparative analysis. J Am Coll Health 64:262-7
Villanti, Andrea C; Bover Manderski, Michelle T; Gundersen, Daniel A et al. (2016) Reasons to quit and barriers to quitting smoking in US young adults. Fam Pract 33:133-9
Wackowski, Olivia A; Delnevo, Cristine D (2016) Young Adults' Risk Perceptions of Various Tobacco Products Relative to Cigarettes: Results From the National Young Adult Health Survey. Health Educ Behav 43:328-36
Delnevo, Cristine D; Villanti, Andrea C; Wackowski, Olivia A et al. (2016) The influence of menthol, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products on young adults' self-reported changes in past year smoking. Tob Control 25:571-4
Echeverría, Sandra E; Gundersen, Daniel A; Manderski, Michelle T B et al. (2015) Social norms and its correlates as a pathway to smoking among young Latino adults. Soc Sci Med 124:187-95
Jane Lewis, M; Bover Manderski, Michelle T; Delnevo, Cristine D (2015) Tobacco industry direct mail receipt and coupon use among young adult smokers. Prev Med 71:37-9
Echeverría, Sandra E; Ohri-Vachaspati, Punam; Yedidia, Michael J (2015) The influence of parental nativity, neighborhood disadvantage and the built environment on physical activity behaviors in Latino youth. J Immigr Minor Health 17:519-26
Wackowski, Olivia A; Manderski, Michelle T Bover; Delnevo, Cristine D (2014) Young adults' behavioral intentions surrounding a potential menthol cigarette ban. Nicotine Tob Res 16:876-80
Gundersen, Daniel A; Peters, Kurt R; Conner, Ashley et al. (2014) Stability of sample quality for a national random-digit dialing cellular phone survey of young adults. Am J Epidemiol 180:1047-9
Gundersen, Daniel A; ZuWallack, Randal S; Dayton, James et al. (2014) Assessing the feasibility and sample quality of a national random-digit dialing cellular phone survey of young adults. Am J Epidemiol 179:39-47

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications