TUS-CPS Frequently Asked Questions

The Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) is an NCI-sponsored survey of tobacco use that has been administered as part of the US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey approximately every 3-4 years since 1992-93.

For inquiries or additional information, please contact ncidccpsbrpadvances@mail.nih.gov.

  1. How can I get started analyzing TUS-CPS data? Do you have SAS or Excel datasets available for download?

    1. Please take a look at our materials from the 2009 User Workshop or the 2013 TUS-CPS webinar.

    2. Data files (.dat) are available for download. The files are meant to be used in SAS or other statistical package(s). In addition to the data files, you can download sample SAS code to read the files into SAS. Excel data files are not available.

  2. How can you merge the three months of data collection in a single wave and for several waves?

    1. Please take a look at our training materials.

      1. 2009 User Workshop Presentations

      2. 2013 TUS-CPS Webinar

  3. What data precision restrictions are applied to Census Bureau data, and what confidentiality responsibilities do data users have when using the TUS-CPS Public Use File (PUF) and associated files?

    1. The risk of disclosure of confidential and/or personally identifiable information (PII) with the TUS-CPS PUF is low. Prior to releasing the PUF, the Census Bureau modifies the file to ensure that certain variables cannot be used to identify participants. Modifications can include collapsing variable subgroups (e.g., sociodemographic variables) or suppressing values for certain weighted population sizes, labeled as “not identified” (e.g., populations of less than 100,000 people, per U.S. Census Bureau regulations and Title 13, U.S. Code – Protection of Confidential Information).

  4. How have other researchers used the TUS-CPS data?

    1. The Publications Database lists nearly 300 publications and reports using the TUS-CPS. Visit https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/tus-cps/publications-database

  5. What is an appropriate citation for the TUS-CPS?

    1. To cite the harmonized data, please use:

    2. For each survey wave 2014-15 and later, please use:

      • US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau (Year of Data Release). National Cancer Institute and Food and Drug Administration co-sponsored Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Years of Surveyhttps://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/tus-cps/

    3. For each survey wave 2010-11 and earlier, please use:

    4. For example, the citation for the 2018-2019 data would be:

      To cite the Technical Documentation and Data Files, replace the URL in the citation with: https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/tus-cps/questionnaires-data.

  1. Why are county-level identifiers missing for some respondents?

    1. Congressional law prohibits the Census Bureau from disclosing geographical information on anyone living in a geographic area of less than 100,000 population. The result is that the majority of county codes are not identified.

      Geography data is provided to the state level and some sub-state levels for specific metropolitan identifiers (see attachment 11 of the technical documentation: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmay15.pdf. The lowest level with full information is the state level.

  2. Does cigar usage include cigarillos?

    1. Since 2010-11, the TUS explicitly states that the survey is asking about all cigar types and mentions "cigarillo” in the question. While the TUS asked about all types of cigars prior to 2010-11 (since 1992-93), we can’t say for sure if everyone who smokes cigarillos counted themselves as smoking cigars. In addition, once they do say they currently smoke cigars, we do ask about type of cigars and brand in 2010-11 and 2014-15.

  3. Does the TUS contain a variable measuring urbanicity?

    1. The metropolitan status variable is in the geographic identifiers section of the basic CPS record layout. The variable is listed as H_METSTA in the 1992-1993 wave, but GTMETSTA in all other waves.

      The variable has the following codes:
      1 = Metropolitan
      2 = Non-Metropolitan
      3 = Not identified

  4. Are data available showing comparisons between dentists, physicians or other health professionals in prevalence of tobacco use screening, counseling, referral?

    1. Data on trends for advice to quit smoking from physicians and dentists are presented separately and can be found in current and past Cancer Trends Progress Reports at https://progressreport.cancer.gov or https://progressreport.cancer.gov/prevention/clinicians_advice. This resource uses data from the TUS-CPS. The 2003 and 2010-11 questionnaires had items regarding the type of advice that was given (i.e., referral to a quit line, prescription meds, etc.).

  5. Are there instructions for merging the TUS-CPS data with the ASEC supplements?

    1. There is a document on the Census Bureau website on linking the CPS public use data files that has useful information. The link is: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/methodology/How%20To%20Link%20CPS%20Public%20Use%20Files.pdf.

      When merging the TUS-CPS and ASEC data it is a good idea to check for duplicate records before and after the merge. There shouldn’t be more than a few duplicates, if any. If there are more than a few, double check that there isn’t an error in the code used to merging the files. We exclude the few duplicate records from our merges.

  6. Is there documentation regarding use of replicate weights?

    1. Please see the TUS-CPS Technical Documentation for each individual survey wave, also on the Census FTP site—specifically, Appendix 16 – Source and Accuracy Statement. Also, the following webinars should be helpful for describing how replicate weights are derived and may be used to conduct analyses: 2013 TUS-CPS Webinar – Statistical Aspects on the Best Practices for Analyzing TUS-CPS and 2021 TUS-CPS Data User Webinar Series, Webinar #2 – Using SAS to Analyze TUS-CPS Data.

  7. Are instructions to create new weights when linking various TUS data files’ data subsets with other TUS data file subsets and/or with subsets of other CPS Supplements?

    1. When reweighting other TUS data file subsets and/or with subsets of other CPS Supplements, you may wish to refer to NCI’s Overlap Sample Report. This report summarizes weighting methodology and overlap sample characteristics. NCI refers to those who responded to both the February 2002 TUS and the February 2003 Tobacco Use Special Cessation Supplement as the overlap sample. The responses to the overlap sample can be analyzed as one-year longitudinal study with a representative sample of the U.S. and hence furnishes a unique opportunity for data analysis.

  8. Does TUS-CPS adopt any specific data precision criteria?

    1. Neither the TUS-CPS Management Team nor the Census Bureau recommend any statistical precision data methodology. Data precision refers to statistical precision limits due to small sample sizes or large relative standard errors (RSE). Publications using certain data sources, such as from Health United States or Healthy People 2020, may use varying data precision criteria such as a denominator of <50 or of <30, or a RSE >30%. The TUS-CPS Public Use File should not allow users to access effective sample sizes of <30 because of restrictions related to confidentiality under Title 13, U.S. Code. However, Census modifications for small subgroups only applies to demographic variables and not to tobacco use items. Additionally, due to decreasing response rates, sample sizes in both the CPS and TUS have declined over time. Therefore, there are some infrequent situations in which analyses may result in small effective sample sizes of <30.

  9. What data precision guidelines are recommended for publication of TUS-CPS data?

    1. In general, users may consider being cautious when working with small sample sizes (n < 30) or interpreting estimates with RSE >30%, but should balance such concerns with research objectives, such as when analyzing certain historically disadvantaged groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, etc.), novel tobacco products (e.g., nicotine pouches or heated tobacco products), or other subgroup combinations or data points. In these exceptional cases, users should interpret large confidence intervals and estimates with caution and mark estimates as potentially uncertain in all publications and presentations.

      Users may also consider not using a specific cutoff for suppressing RSE for proportions derived from survey data and instead use an effective sample size of <30 (based on the Central Limit Theorem) as a cutoff for precision.

    The National Cancer Institute (NCI) TUS-CPS team recently compiled responses to questions submitted by registrants for the 2020 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) TUS-CPS Informational Session (despite that Session having been cancelled). Please find all questions and responses in the 2020 Informational Session Questions and Responses document.

Last Updated
March 23, 2023