Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type



Health Sciences

First Advisor

Gerald Schafer

Second Advisor

Kelly Parsley

Third Advisor

Annette Ryerson


Background: Rates of cigarette smoking among young adults between the ages of 18-26 have risen slightly over the last ten years, counter to past and current public health campaigns warning against tobacco use. Some of this may be due to an increase in light, social smoking, a relatively new phenomenon that seems particularly common in young adults. Few studies have investigated social smoking and how public health efforts can counter it. Objectives: This review aims to summarize current research on social smoking, including: definition, characteristics, rates and health risks. Methods: Health databases were searched to identify journal articles using the terms: “social smoking; young adults; light smoking;” Limiting factors included: time frame: 1995-2015; location: United States; Age: 18-26. Results: From the selected search parameters, nine articles were identified as relevant to addressing the growing popularity of social smoking in young adults in the United States. These studies identified social smoking habits as carrying the same health risks as daily smoking, and to be increasing among young adults. Discussion Social smoking is increasing among young adults and trends show it may continue to do so. Contrary to popular belief of occasional smokers, social smoking is dangerous and poses a threat to both individual health and the overall health of the United States. More research needs to be done on the topic of social smoking in order to create relevant, effective public health campaigns, and messages young adults will respond to.

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