The next generation of users: prevalence and longitudinal patterns of tobacco use among US young adults

Am J Public Health. 2014 Aug;104(8):1429-36. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301802. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Objectives: We monitored the prevalence and patterns of use of the array of tobacco products available to young adults, who are at risk for initiation and progression to established tobacco use.

Methods: We used data from waves 1 to 3 of GfK's KnowledgePanel (2011-2012), a nationally representative cohort of young adults aged 18 to 34 years (n = 2144). We examined prevalence and patterns of tobacco product use over time, associated demographics, and state-level tobacco policy. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine predictors of initiation of cigarettes as well as noncombustible and other combustible products.

Results: The prevalence of ever tobacco use rose from 57.28% at wave 1 to 67.43% at wave 3. Use of multiple products was the most common pattern (66.39% of tobacco users by wave 3). Predictors of initiation differed by product type and included age, race/ethnicity, policy, and use of other tobacco products.

Conclusions: Tobacco use is high among young adults and many are using multiple products. Efforts to implement policy and educate young adults about the risks associated with new and emerging products are critical to prevent increased initiation of tobacco use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • State Government
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use / prevention & control
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult