Introduction: Inclusion of brand-specific examples (BE) in health surveys assessing lifetime and current cigar use has been shown to impact response rates. A split sample experimental design was used to investigate whether these rates are consistent by race, gender, and geographic locale.
Methods: The 2009 Cuyahoga County Youth Risk Behavior Survey was conducted among 20 randomly selected high schools. Two versions of the survey were created; the first included items assessing lifetime and current cigar use with no brand-specific examples (NBE) while the second included BE in the items assessing cigar use. Both survey versions were distributed randomly within selected classrooms in participating schools.
Results: Within the City, both White and Black BE respondents reported higher lifetime cigar product use prevalence and current cigar product use compared to the NBE group; however, the difference was only significant among Black respondents (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45, 95% CI 1.02-2.06). In the Outer Ring, White BE respondents were significantly less likely to report lifetime cigar use (OR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.54 - 0.98) and current cigar use (OR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.44-0.99) when compared with White NBE respondents.
Conclusions: Inclusion of BE in current measures of cigar product use may improve product use estimates in at-risk groups. However, better estimation of cigar product use may be accomplished by creating additional items to assess the use of subtypes of cigars.