The susceptibility to smoking index can be improved as it only identifies one third of future adult smokers. Adding curiosity to this index may increase the identification of future smokers and improve the identification of effective prevention messages.
Analyses used data from the California Longitudinal Study of Smoking Transitions in Youth, for whom tobacco use behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs were assessed at 3 time points from age 12 through early adulthood. Logistic regressions were used to evaluate whether baseline curiosity about smoking was predictive of smoking during the 6-year follow-up period and whether curiosity about smoking provided evidence of incremental validity over existing measures of susceptibility to smoking.
Compared to those who were classified as definitely not curious about smoking, teens who were classified as probably not curious (ORadj = 1.90, 95% CI = 1.28–2.81) and those classified as definitely curious (ORadj = 2.38, 95% CI= 1.49–3.79) had an increase in the odds of becoming a young adult smoker. Adding curiosity to the original susceptibility to smoking index increased the sensitivity of the enhanced susceptibility index to 78.9% compared to 62.2% identified by the original susceptibility index. However, a loss of specificity meant there was no improvement in the positive predictive value.
The enhanced susceptibility index significantly improves identification of teens at risk for becoming young adult smokers. Thus, this enhanced index is preferred for identifying and testing potentially effective prevention messages.