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Predicting Tobacco Use across the First Year of College

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess patterns of tobacco use across the first year of college, transitions in use, and associated predictors. Methods: The frequency of tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah) during the fall and spring of 4073 college students' first year at college were used as indicators in latent class (LCA) and latent transition analyses (LTA). Results: The LCA yielded 3 classes that represent levels of use frequency and not specific tobacco product classes: non-using, experimenting, and frequent using. The LTA results demonstrate stability in class membership from fall to spring. The most common transition was for the fall experimenters to transition out of experimentation. A series of demographic, environmental, and intrapersonal predictors were found to influence both fall class membership, and transitions from fall to spring. Conclusions: Students are likely to use multiple alternative tobacco products along with cigarettes. Their frequency of use of these products is fairly stable across the first year of college. Predictors reflecting experiences during the first year of college had the greatest impact on college tobacco use, demonstrating the importance of the college experience on young adult tobacco use.
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Keywords: ALTERNATIVE TOBACCO; COLLEGE; TOBACCO; TRANSITION

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. [email protected] 2: Department of African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA 3: College Behavioral and Emotional Health Initiative (COBE), Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA 4: Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA 5: Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA 6: College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute (COBE), Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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