Assessment of Cigarette Smoking in Epidemiologic Studies

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The assessment of cumulative exposure based on collecting information on the history of active cigarette smoking has been and is being undertaken in a variety of ways. While a very detailed assessment may be required for studies with a focus on particular aspects of smoking behavior and history, comparability of measurements and results across studies remains a primary concern. Addressing the problem of heterogeneity of exposure assessment across studies can be achieved by a core set of questions that cover the major dimensions of cigarette smoking, and yet comply with current criteria used for defining smoking history and status. In studies where no very high level of exposure assessment is required or where smoking is not the major subject of investigation, a practical standardized core set of questions appears to be of considerable value, in particularwith regard to making results more comparable across studies.

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