HSI Calculator — Heaviness of Smoking Index

Created by Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Aug 15, 2023

The Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) calculator estimates nicotine dependence from only two questions. Answering them will allow you to categorize your addiction as low, medium, or high.

Read the article below to find out what HSI stands for and learn some interesting facts about the Heaviness of Smoking Index questionnaire and nicotine dependence in general.

Nicotine addiction

Nicotine dependence is a state where you need nicotine to function normally, and you cannot stop using it. Nicotine is a chemical compound that naturally occurs in some plants, including tobacco. Its use is associated with pleasing effects on the brain, and therefore nicotine it's often used as a stimulant.

Cigarettes contain tobacco and are highly addictive due to their nicotine content. Cigarette smoking is associated with many health problems, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. It doesn't matter how long you have smoking for – quitting smoking can improve your health. It may not be easy, but it is possible to stop the dependence on nicotine.

If you are fighting with nicotine addiction, we have other resources that you may find useful:

Heaviness of Smoking Index questionnaire - what is HSI?

The Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) questionnaire was developed to measure nicotine dependence using two questions from the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire and the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence:

1. On the days that you smoke, how soon after you wake up do you have your first cigarette?

2. How many cigarettes do you typically smoke per day?

Each question has four possible answers, scored from 0 to 3 points:

Question 1:

  • Within 5 minutes (3 points);
  • 6- 30 minutes (2 points);
  • 31-60 minutes (1 point); and
  • After 60 minutes (0 points).

Question 2:

  • 10 or fewer (0 points);
  • 11-20 (1 point);
  • 21-30 (2 points); and
  • 31 or more (3 points).

HSI is commonly used both in the clinic and in population surveys to assess nicotine dependence.

Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) interpretation

Depending on the Heaviness of Smoking Index score, nicotine dependence is categorized in the following ways:

  • Low (0-2 points);
  • Medium (3-4 points); and
  • High (5-6 points).

The maximum score of the Heaviness of Smoking Index is 6.

HSI calculator

Using the HSI calculator couldn't be easier. Just answer two questions:

  1. How soon after you wake up do you have your first cigarette?
  2. How many cigarettes do you typically smoke per day?

You can choose one of the four possible answers.

At the bottom of the HSI calculator, you will be able to see a result interpretation based on your answers.

🙋 Visit the addiction calculator, a tool that may help you in your recovery — or just satisfy your curiosity.

Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
1. How soon after you wake up do you have your first cigarette?
After 60 min
2. How many cigarettes do you typically smoke per day?
10 or fewer
Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI)
Results interpretation: low addiction.
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