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Knowledge of Alternative Tobacco Products in Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

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Objectives: In this study, we examined perceptions of factors that influence use and non-use of alternative tobacco products (ATPs) among unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. Methods: We conducted focus groups with 30 homeless 18-24 year-olds (80% men, 50% Hispanic, 30% black, 17% white, 20% multi-racial/other) recruited from drop-in centers in Los Angeles. Discussion focused on several ATPs (hookah, electronic cigarettes/vaping devices, cigarillos/little cigars, smokeless tobacco, snus, natural cigarettes, clove cigarettes), soliciting participants' experiences using each ATP and motivations for using or not using each ATP. Results: Focus group transcripts were subjected to a rigorous coding procedure and 8 themes relating to the reasons that participants may or may not use ATPs emerged. Each ATP was associated with distinctive characteristics that motivated use and non-use. For example, hookah use was viewed positively with positive sensory and social features dominating the discussion, whereas electronic cigarettes were viewed largely negatively (ie, that they were expensive and harmful to health). Homelessness characterized participants' responses to the extent that cost was a factor in their choice of ATP. Conclusions: These data provide important, first-look insights into factors that may influence the use and non-use of ATPs among unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • 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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