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Light smoking college students more likely than heavier smokers to use combustible alternative tobacco products

A new study examined the current use of alternative tobacco products (ATPs) including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah and the susceptibility of future use of these products among college students. Participants (N = 1161) were college students enrolled in universities in Texas and were between the ages of 18 to 29 years. Participants were also current or past 30-day cigarette smokers and were categorized as very light smokers (i.e., less than 5 cigarettes per day) or heavier smokers (i.e., more than 5 cigarettes per day). The measures of the study included the following. Socio-demographic characteristics, substance use covariates, which included current use of marijuana and binge drinking, current smoking intensity, which was assessed in terms of current frequency and quantity, and current ATP use, which was assessed using an adapted version of the Youth Tobacco Survey and the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Survey. Lastly, susceptibility to ATP use was measured using items such as “Do you think you will use any of the following in the next 12 months?” The authors used multilevel logistic regression models to examine the associations between cigarette smoking intensity, the independent variable, and the current ATP use and susceptibility to ATP use dependent variables. Results showed that 88.6% of participants who were current smokers reported very light smoking. Furthermore, participants smoked about 11 days out of the past 30 days with an average of 2 cigarettes per day and only 14.3% of participants were daily smokers. The majority of participants (67.7%) used at least one ATP concurrently with traditional cigarettes. The most popular product used concurrently was e-cigarettes (42.9%), followed by hookah (36.4%), and cigars (25.9%). Both very light smoker and heavy smoker participants were susceptible to future ATP use. In addition, very light smokers had greater odds of using cigars concurrently but had lower odds of using e-cigarettes concurrently, in comparison to heavier smokers. They also had greater odds of being susceptible to future cigar and hookah use, but not e-cigarette use, in comparison to heavier smokers.

Take away: In comparison to heavier smokers, very light smokers had greater odds of using cigars concurrently with cigarettes and reported being more susceptible to future cigar and hookah use, but not e-cigarette use.

Li, X., Loukas, A., & Perry, C. L. (2018). Very light smoking and alternative tobacco use among college students. Addictive Behaviors.

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