Objective: To address observations that youths' smoking identities are valid descriptors of their smoking behaviour we examined the relationships between youths' self-reported smoking identities, their perceived levels of addiction, and established taxonomies of smoking behaviour.
Method: Cross-sectional data were collected on demographics, perceived extent of addiction to tobacco, smoking history, and self-reported smoking identity from questionnaires administered to 8,225 students in British Columbia, Canada. 7, 246 participants were categorized according to four smoking taxonomies established in the literature. Differences in perceived physical and mental addiction between smoking identity groups were calculated. The strength of the associations between the taxonomies of smoking and the smoking identity groups was also assessed.
Results: There were significant differences in perceived levels of physical (Kruskal Wallis χ2 = 3985.02, p < .001) and mental (Kruskal Wallis χ2 = 4046.09, p < .001) addiction to tobacco by the participants' self-reported smoking identity. Youths' smoking identities were modestly associated with the established smoking taxonomies (Pearson's C: .64 - .72).
Conclusion: Self-reported smoking identities appear to provide valid characterizations of youths' smoking behaviour that complement and elaborate existing taxonomies of smoking behaviour. Questions about self-reported smoking identity should be used in conjunction with smoking behaviour taxonomies when investigating youth smoking.
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