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For some individuals, college can be a high risk time for the development of problems associated with alcohol use and other substances. The purpose of this study is to examine these initiation and use patterns as they relate to nicotine use among college students 18 years of age and older enrolled in Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey. The Spit for Science research project evaluates how genetic and environmental factors contribute to substance use and emotional health among college students at VCU. This study uses data from the Spit for Science 2011 cohort (n=2007) to investigate smoking patterns among males and female and how they change over the course of their college careers. Starting with a baseline cigarette use (lifetime) question in their freshman fall survey, we will compare this to participants’ sophomore spring and junior spring surveys to assess smoking initiation rates and smoking patterns during college. Initial analyses show that 63% of participants had never had a cigarette by the time of their entry to VCU. This research will shed light on initiation and use patterns at VCU and lay the groundwork for future studies involving prevention and intervention programming.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Biology, Psychology


Nicotine dependence, Nicotine, Cigarette, Smoking, Dependence, Smoke, Lifetime nicotine use, Tobacco, Tobacco consumption, Smoking initiation


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Psychiatry and Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Danielle Dick

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Amy Elizabeth Adkins, PhD


© The Author(s)

Smoking Patterns Among VCU Students