Purpose: Flavors can mask the harshness and taste of tobacco, making flavored tobacco products appealing to youth. We assessed the prevalence and correlates of flavored-little-cigar and flavored-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students in 2011.
Methods: Data were obtained from the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a nationally representative school-based survey of U.S. students in grades 6-12. National estimates of current flavored-little-cigar use, flavored-cigarette use, and combined use of either product were calculated overall and among current smokers by respondent characteristics, including sex, race/ethnicity, school level, and grade. Additionally, intention to quit tobacco and smoking frequency were assessed by flavored product use.
Results: The overall prevalence of current use was 4.2% for flavored cigarettes, 3.3% for flavored little cigars, and 6.3% for either product. Among current cigar smokers, 35.9% reported using flavored little cigars, and among current cigarette smokers, 35.4% reported using flavored cigarettes. Among current cigar or cigarette smokers, 42.4% reported using flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes. Flavored product use among current smokers was higher among non-Hispanic whites than among blacks and Hispanics, higher among high school students than middle school students, and increased with grade. Among cigar smokers, prevalence of no intention to quit tobacco was higher among flavored-little-cigar users (59.7%) than nonusers (49.3%).
Conclusions: More than two fifths of U.S. middle and high school smokers report using flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes, and disparities in the use of these products exist across subpopulations. Efforts are needed to reduce flavored tobacco product use among youth.
Keywords: Adolescent; Flavoring agents; Smoking; Surveys; Tobacco.
Published by Elsevier Inc.