Objectives: To measure community-level changes in the methods youth use to obtain cigarettes over time and to relate these methods to the progression of smoking.
Methods: We analyzed 2000-2003 data from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort study, where youth (beginning at age 12), who were living in Minnesota at baseline, were surveyed every 6 months via telephone. We conducted mixed model repeated measures logistic regression to obtain probabilities of cigarette access methods among past 30-day smokers (n=340 at baseline).
Results: The probability of obtaining cigarettes from a commercial source in the past month declined from 0.36 at baseline to 0.22 at the sixth survey point while the probability of obtaining cigarettes from a social source during the previous month increased from 0.54 to 0.76 (p for both trends=0.0001). At the community level, the likelihood of adolescents obtaining cigarettes from social sources was inversely related to the likelihood of progressing to heavy smoking (p<0.001).
Conclusions: During this time, youth shifted to greater reliance on social sources and less on commercial sources. A trend toward less commercial access to cigarettes accompanied by an increase in social access may translate to youth being less likely to progress to heavier smoking.