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Adolescents' First Tobacco Product: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey

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Objectives: To inform targeted prevention efforts, it is important to understand which tobacco products are used first and associations by demographic characteristics. Methods: We conducted a nationally-representative random digit-dial telephone survey of 1125 adolescents ages 13-17. Adolescents reported the first tobacco product they tried, and we analyzed associations with demographic variables.Results: Two-hundred nineteen (18.6%) adolescents reported ever using a tobacco product. The most common first product tried was cigarettes (35.4%), followed by electronic nicotine delivery systems (24.3%), smokeless tobacco (17.7%), cigars (11.4%), and waterpipe (11.2%). Weighted multivariable logistic regression analyses showed girls were 2.7 times more likely than boys to report cigarettes as their first product, Hispanic/Latinos were 5.0 times more likely than non-Hispanic/Latinos to report cigarettes, and those whose mothers had at least a 4-year college degree were 6.1 times more likely to report waterpipe compared to those whose mothers had less than a 4-year college degree. Conclusions: Nearly one in 5 adolescents had tried a tobacco product. Although cigarettes were the most frequently reported product, most youth initiated with a non-cigarette tobacco product, and demographic differences were found. These findings point towards potential regulatory policies, including targeted campaigns, which might deter adolescents from initiating tobacco use.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENTS; CIGARETTES; CIGARS; E-CIGARETTES; SMOKELESS; TOBACCO; WATERPIPE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2018

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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