Objective: We examined whether childhood candy cigarette use was associated with adult tobacco smoking.
Methods: 25,887 U.S. adults from the Harris Poll Online (HPOL) were surveyed about current smoking status from November 2005 to May 2006. Respondents were randomly assigned to a yes/no item or a dose-response scale to assess candy cigarette use. Data were weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population.
Results: 26.4% of respondents reported current smoking and 29.4% reported former smoking. Candy cigarette use was reported by 88% of both current and former smokers and 78% of never smokers (p<or=0.001). Logistic regression showed that the odds of smoking for those who used candy cigarettes was 1.98 (95% CI: 1.77, 2.21) for ever (current plus former) smokers and 1.83 (1.59, 2.10) for current smokers, compared to those who had not used candy cigarettes. Odds for current and ever smoking increased with increasing candy cigarette use.
Conclusion: History of candy cigarette use was associated with increased risk of ever and current smoking among this nationally representative online sample of adults. Odds of smoking increased as candy cigarette use increased; these relationships persisted when controlled for sociodemographics. Elimination of candy cigarettes may protect children from products that promote the social acceptability of smoking.