Cigarette & Drug Use

Cigarette & Drug Use

 

Child

Smoking

Questions on smoking have been asked in each Child survey round, starting with the 1988 survey. Children 10 years of age and older have been asked about age at first use and extent of cigarette use. Variables related to smoking for NLSY79 children can be found in the CHILD SELF-ADMINISTERED area of interest of the data files. Table 1 provides information on what questions have been asked on cigarette smoking in the Child surveys and in which years they were asked.

In several survey years, NLSY79 mothers have also been asked about their own smoking habits as well as those of other household members. This information, in light of the fact that interviewed children are largely resident in their mothers’ households, offer opportunities to link the child data with maternal and household smoking information. Three sets of cigarette use data for NLSY79 main respondents are available:

  • Data were collected, during the 1984 main Youth survey on
    • age at first use
    • most recent use
    • the number of cigarettes smoked in the past 30 days. 
  • Information was gathered in the 1992, 1994, 1998, 2010, and 2012 NLSY79 main Youth surveys to ascertain:
    • who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their life
    • the age that they started smoking daily
    • the number of months/years since they had last smoked daily 
  • Female NLSY79 respondents who report at least one pregnancy have also been asked if they smoked in the twelve months before each pregnancy (1983-86, 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1994-2012) and the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy (2000-present).

For a detailed description of smoking items in the mothers' record, consult the NLSY79 main Youth users guide topical section on Cigarette Use.

Drug Use

Starting with the 1988 survey, children age 10 and older answer a series of questions on whether they have ever used marijuana and/or other drugs such as LSD, cocaine, etc. If they answer "yes," they report whether such use had occurred in the past three months and how old they were at first use. Drug use questions are posed to children in the Child Self-Administered Supplements and are assigned to the CHILD SELF-ADMINISTERED area of interest in the child documentation. The question names of drug-use questions that have been asked in the Child surveys are also displayed in Table 1.

Beginning in 1994 more details were added to the substance use questions (also asked of children aged 15 and older in the Young Adult survey). Linkages can be made between children and their mothers, as the NLSY79 main Youth has included drug use questions in several survey years beginning in 1980, when respondents reported the number of times they had ever smoked marijuana or used other drugs (see the Drug Use section in the NLSY79 Users Guide). Mothers also report any drug use during pregnancy.

 Table 1. NLSY79 Child: Smoking and Drug Use Questions for Children Ages 10 and Older, 1988-Current Survey

Year Eligible ages* Question Names Question # in CSAS
1988 10+ CS884242-CS884244;CS884250-CS884256 Q. #31-33; 37-42
1990 10+ CS906649-CS906653; CS906661-CS906671 Q. #33-35; 39-44
1992 10+ CS926849-CS926853; CS926861-CS926911 Q. #46-48; 52-57
1994 10-14 CS942623-CS942631; CS942643-CS942711 Q. #48-52; 58-69
1996 10-14 CS960923-CS960931; CS960943-CS961015 Q. #50-54; 60-71
1998 10-14 CS98050-CS98055; CS98061-CS98085 Q. #50-55; 61-85
2000 10-14 CSAS050-CSAS055; CSAS061-CSAS085 Q. #50-55; 61-85
2002 10-14 CSAS050-CSAS055; CSAS061-CSAS085 **
2004-present 10-14 CSAS050-CSAS055; CSAS061-CSAS071A~000007 **
 
*From 1988-1992, all children ages 10 and older were asked questions regarding smoking and drug use. Starting in 1994, these questions were asked of Child respondents ages 10-14.
**Starting in 2002, with the conversion of the Child Self-Administered Supplement to CAPI, the question numbers are replaced by CAPI question names. Users should carefully read the question content for references to specific drugs across survey years.

Peer pressure to try drugs

Since 1992, children aged 10 and older have also been asked whether they feel pressure from friends to try marijuana or other drugs. This question is assigned to the CHILD SELF-ADMINISTERED SUPPLEMENT area of interest.  See the topical guide entry on child Attitudes and Expectations for more information about the peer pressure questions in the Child Self-Administered Supplement.

Survey Instruments Questions on smoking and drug use are found in the Child Self-Administered Supplement.
Area of Interest CHILD SELF-ADMINISTERED SUPPLEMENT

 

Young Adult

All Young Adults are asked a series of questions about recent and lifetime cigarette smoking and drug use. These questions, which address actual use as well as behaviors resulting from use, are more detailed than those asked when they were children ages 10-14.

Cigarette Smoking

From 1994 to 1998, as part of the Young Adult Self-Report Booklet, young adults were asked on how many different occasions they had smoked in their lifetime. If they reported any smoking at all, they were asked the age at which they first smoked. They were then asked the most recent time they smoked cigarettes. If they reported smoking within the past month, they were then asked how often they had smoked in the last 30 days and how many cigarettes they smoked on the days when they did smoke.

Since  2000, Young Adults who are either new to the survey or have not previously reported smoking are asked if they have ever smoked cigarettes and, if so, at what age they first smoked them. These Young Adults, as well as Young Adults who have previously reported smoking, are asked the most recent time they smoked cigarettes. If they report smoking within the past month, they are then asked how often they have smoked in the last 30 days and how many cigarettes they smoked on the days that they smoked.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Select survey years of the NLSY79 have included questions on the quantity and frequency of cigarette use. Children of the NLSY79 age 10 and older (including the Young Adults) have provided this information regularly starting with the 1988 survey.   

In the NLSY97 round 1, all respondents were first asked whether they had ever smoked an entire cigarette; if so, they reported their age on the first occasion. In subsequent rounds, respondents were asked whether they had smoked a cigarette since the date of last interview, and if they had, frequency of use and the quantity of cigarettes smoked. Detailed information on cigarette use was gathered from the Mature Women in 1989 and from the Young Women in 1991 and 1993; these respondents also indicated whether they currently smoked in 1995-2003 surveys. Older Men provided retrospective smoking data in 1990. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Drug Use

From 1994 to 1998, as part of the Young Adult Self-Report Booklet, young adults were asked on how many different occasions in their lifetime they had done the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Sniffed/Huffed substances
  • Cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Other drugs like LSD, uppers, or downers

If they reported using any of the above, they were asked the age at which they first used that drug/substance and the most recent time they had used it. If they reported using the drug within the past month, they were then asked how often they had done so.

Additionally, young adults were asked whether they had ever taken drugs such as sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, pain killers, heroin, hallucinogens, or steroids without a doctor’s orders. They were also asked if they had ever injected a drug without doctors’ orders. In 1994 only, they were asked about whether or not they had taken drugs such as sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, or pain killers under doctors’ orders. 

Since 2000, Young Adults who are either new to the survey or have not previously reported using marijuana are asked if they have ever used it and, if so, at what age they first used it. These Young Adults, as well as Young Adults who have previously reported using marijuana, are asked the most recent time they used it. If they report use within the past month, they are then asked how often they used it in the last 30 days. Additionally, from 2000 to 2008, respondents reporting marijuana use within the last year were asked a series of 8 questions designed to assess the impact of marijuana usage in the last 12 months. Since 2010, only two of these questions (During the past twelve months, have you built up a tolerance to marijuana so that the same amount had less effect than before, and During the past twelve months, how often, if ever, did you use or feel high from marijuana during work time or on breaks?) continue to be asked.

Specific questions about amphetamine usage were added in 2000 including whether respondents had ever used amphetamines and, if so, how recently. If amphetamine use within the past 12 months is reported, Young Adults are then asked about workplace usage.

Questions concerning use of other kinds of drugs were greatly curtailed in 2000. Respondents are first asked whether or not they have used any drugs other than amphetamines or marijuana. If they answer yes, a series of follow-up questions are asked about doing any of the following sniffing/huffing substances, cocaine, crack cocaine, hallucinogens, sedatives/downers and any other drugs. Young Adults who are either new to the survey or have not previously reported that type of drug use are asked if they have ever used it. Those saying yes, as well as those who have reported that type of drug use in the past, are asked how often they have used that type in the last 30 days.

Peer pressure to try drugs

Since 2002, young adults aged 18 and younger have been asked whether they feel pressure from friends to try marijuana or other drugs. This question has also been asked since 1992 of the 10 to 14 years olds in the Child Self-Administered Supplement. See the topical guide entry on Attitudes and Expectations for more information about the peer pressure questions in both the Young Adult and the Child Self-Administered Supplement.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: The NLSY79 first included drug use questions in 1980, when respondents stated the number of times they had ever smoked marijuana or used other drugs. In 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, and 1998, NLSY79 respondents reported their age at first use, lifetime use, and frequency of use in the past 30 days. In addition, NLSY79 females were asked about use of marijuana immediately prior to and during pregnancy.Beginning in 1988, the NLSY79 Child Self-Administered Supplement included a series of questions on whether they had ever used marijuana or other drugs such as LSD or cocaine. 

The NLSY97 round 1 survey first established whether the respondent had ever used marijuana or other illicit drugs and asked for the respondent's age at first use. In subsequent rounds all respondents were asked whether they had used marijuana or other illicit drugs since the date of last interview.  Each survey then collected additional information on the number of days the respondent smoked marijuana in the 30 days prior to the interview. Finally, questions determined the number of times the respondent used marijuana right before or during school or work in those 30 days. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments Questions on smoking and drug use are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Young Adult Self-Report Section.
Area of Interest YA Self Report