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Who Purchases Tobacco Online? Findings from Waves 1 and 4 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study

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Objectives: We examined the prevalence of and factors associated with usually purchasing tobacco online. Methods: We analyzed Waves 1 (2013-14) and 4 (2016-17) of the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health adult (18+) and youth (12-17) studies: 15,450 adults and 495 youth in 2013-14 and 15,037 adults and 465 youth in 2016-17. Z-tests compared the prevalence of usually purchasing tobacco online between waves and weighted multivariable regressions identified associations between purchasing online and sociodemographics. Results: The prevalence of usually purchasing tobacco online increased from 2.5% to 3.3% among adults (p < .05) and from 2.5% to 4.4% among youth (p < .05), generalizing to a US population of 2,000,000 adults and 35,000 youth. E-cigarettes and cigars and e-cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco were the most common products among adults and youth, respectively. Men, adults with greater education, adults with higher income, and non-Hispanic black youth had greater odds of purchasing tobacco online (p < .05). Conclusions: Usually purchasing tobacco online remains low, although ever purchasing was not assessed. Efforts should be made to expand Internet tobacco purchasing surveillance and extend and enforce restrictions broadly across tobacco products to reduce youth access.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 2021

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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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