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

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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.


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: Respondents who were classified as a "Former Smoker" by answering the Tobacco - Smoking Status (Adult Protocol) Question 1 as "Yes" (Have you smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your entire life?) and Question 2 as "Not at all" (Do you now smoke every day, some days or not at all?) are asked: About how long has it been since you COMPLETELY quit smoking cigarettes? Enter number: _____[RANGE: 1-99, Don’t Know / Refused]; Enter unit reported:

1 [ ] Days

2 [ ] Weeks

3 [ ] Months

4 [ ] Years

0 [ ] Don’t Know / Refused

Protocol Name from Source:

Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey


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 Working Group 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

Interviewer-administered questionnaire

Life Stage:



≥18 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.

Specific Instructions:

Respondent is asked how long it has been since he or she completely quit smoking only if he or she was classified as a Former Smoker based on responses to the Tobacco - Smoking Status (Adult Protocol). Length of time and unit of time (days, weeks, months, years) are recorded.

Selection Rationale

The protocol from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) was chosen because it is a large survey (each survey wave includes about 240,000 respondents) of the U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian population that has been conducted since 1992 in a consistent manner. The next wave is being planned for 2010-2011, and it is anticipated that the survey will be conducted triennially over the next decade. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the primary sponsor of the survey series, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serving as cosponsor between 2001 and 2007. The TUS is an adult-focused survey, and its questions are comparable to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics’ National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and NCI’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).


English, Available in other languages

Common Data Elements (CDE) Person Cigarette Smoking Cessation Age 2786151 CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Tobac age offset adult proto 62501-2 LOINC
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:

• No significant changes to measure

Back-compatible: NA no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)


U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. (2008). National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Co-sponsored Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (2006-2007) Technical documentation. Question H1.

General References

National Cancer Institute. (2009). Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey: Reports and publications using the TUS-CPS [Bibliography]. Available from http://riskfactor.cancer.gov/studies/tus-cps/publications.html

Protocol ID:


Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX030902_Smoking_Cessation_Time_Number PX030902010000 About how long has it been since you COMPLETELY quit smoking cigarettes? 4 Variable Mapping
PX030902_Smoking_Cessation_Time_Number_Coded PX030902010100 About how long has it been since you COMPLETELY quit smoking cigarettes? 4 N/A
PX030902_Smoking_Cessation_Time_Unit PX030902020000 About how long has it been since you COMPLETELY quit smoking cigarettes? 4 Variable Mapping
Research Domain Information
Measure Name:

Tobacco - Age of Offset of Cigarette Use

Release Date:

February 6, 2009


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