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NIDA. (2018, July 16). How Safe Is “Social Smoking”? Test Your Knowledge. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
July 16 2018
A photo of a cat in a box - Fitting in is overrated
Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute.

You know about the health problems from smoking cigarettes, right? (For a refresher, check out the facts.)

But what about just smoking a cigarette every now and then, or “social smoking”? Could that be as dangerous as smoking every day? Take the quiz below to find out. Answers are listed after the questions.

1. How many people who smoke regularly experimented with smoking (smoked socially) before they were 18?

  1. About 10 percent
  2. More than half
  3. Nearly 9 out of 10

2. A teen’s brain is ____ sensitive to the effects of smoking tobacco, compared with an adult’s brain.

  1. More
  2. Equally
  3. Less

3. In a social setting where their peers are smoking, who’s more likely to be motivated to smoke?

  1. Adults
  2. Teens
  3. It’s a trick question. They’re equally likely to smoke in that situation.


  1. C. Nearly 9 out of 10 regular smokers first smoked cigarettes socially before they turned 18. [PDF - 36MB] (Note: Almost 90 percent of people who die from smoking-related causes started using tobacco products at or before age 18.)
  2. A. The teen brain is more sensitive to the effects of smoking tobacco than the adult brain. The earlier in life a person starts smoking (or using any other drug), the more likely they are to progress to more serious use.
  3. B. Teens are more likely than adults to be influenced to smoke in a social setting where their peers are smoking. Peer pressure can be a powerful influence on teens, but there are ways to resist it.

Read about the connection between teens’ use of nicotine and the size of their brains.