Background: To describe patterns and correlates of tobacco product use other than cigarettes in adolescents 12-17 years of age.
Methods: Adolescent respondents (N = 6090) to the 1999 California Tobacco Survey provided estimates of ever and current use (in last 30 days) of smokeless tobacco, cigars, and bidis, which were examined by cigarette smoking experience, demographics, and known predictors of cigarette use.
Results: Only 3% of adolescents who never smoked cigarettes experimented with other tobacco products. Among ever smokers who were not current smokers, the rate was 35%. Nearly 60% of current cigarette experimenters had tried another tobacco product, but almost 90% of current established smokers had experimented with one. Over 40% of current established smokers used another tobacco product in the last 30 days. Factors predictive of cigarette smoking were also highly associated with other tobacco use. In ever cigarette smokers, having peers who used other tobacco products was most highly associated with other tobacco use. Problem or risky behaviors, beliefs that cigarettes are safe or beneficial, and receptivity to tobacco promotions were also independently associated with other tobacco product use.
Conclusions: Adolescent smokers who use other tobacco products may be prone to risky behavior and such use may hasten the development of nicotine tolerance.