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Correlates of Awareness and Use of Heated Tobacco Products in a Sample of US Young Adults in 2018–2019

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) have become increasingly popular among the young adult population. Young adults may be more familiar with HTPs if they use multiple tobacco products or if they also use marijuana. The current study looks at factors associated with awareness and lifetime use of HTPS among survey data collected in 2018-2019 from a sample of US young adults.

Data for this study was taken from wave 11 of the longitudinal CHOICE-STRATA cohort study. This wave assessed awareness of HTPS and included 2,497 participants who mostly live in California with an average age of 21.6. They asked participants if they had heard about the “heat-not-burn” tobacco products. They also asked demographic questions, tobacco product use, other substance use, and heaviness of cigarette consumption, dependence and cessation-related factors. The last survey asked specifically about past-month cigarette use, quitting contemplation, readiness to quit, and future intentions to smoke cigarettes.

5% of the total sample stated they had used HTPs at some point and 12% said that they were aware of HTPs. Men were more likely to know of HTPS and college/university students were less likely to report awareness. The data also showed that 85% of those who reported awareness, also reported use of another tobacco product in their lifetime. Marijuana use was found to be associated with higher rates of HTP awareness and lifetime HTP use. Alcohol and other drugs (except marijuana) were not found to correlate with HTP awareness or lifetime use. These HTP products have become increasingly available in the United States and these results show that more research should be done to better understand use patterns, consequences, and why young adults may choose heated tobacco products over other tobacco products. 

Take Away: The current study looks at factors associated with awareness and lifetime use of Heated tobacco products (HTP)s. Data for this study was taken from the longitudinal CHOICE-STRATA cohort study with 2,497 participants. They asked participants about awareness of “heat-not-burn” tobacco products, demographics, and substance use. 5% stated they had used HTPs at some point and 12% said they were aware of HTPs. The data showed 85% of those who reported awareness, also reported use of another tobacco product. Marijuana use was found to correlate to higher rates of HTP awareness and lifetime HTP use other alcohol and other drugs had no correlation. These results show that more research should be done to better understand use patterns, consequences, and why young adults may choose heated tobacco products over other tobacco products. 

Dunbar, M. S., Seelam, R., Tucker, J. S., Rodriguez, A., Shih, R. A., & D’Amico, E. J. (2020). Correlates of Awareness and Use of Heated Tobacco Products in a Sample of US Young Adults in 2018–2019. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa007

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