Background: The potential for emerging tobacco products (ETPs) to be gateway products for further tobacco use among youth is of significant concern.
Purpose: To examine use of various nicotine-containing products on a tobacco-free college campus and whether the first product tried predicts subsequent tobacco use.
Methods: Undergraduate students (N=1,304) at a large university completed an online survey of past/current use of cigarettes; smokeless tobacco (SLT); hookah; ETPs (dissolvables, snus, and electronic cigarettes); and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Data were collected from September 2012 to May 2013 and analyses were conducted from June to September 2013. Students were classified as single, dual, or poly tobacco users.
Results: The sample consisted of 79.5% non-users, 13.8% single, 4.4% dual, and 1.5% poly users. Overall, 49.4% of participants reported trying a tobacco product. Hookah was the most tried product (38%), but cigarettes were most often the first product ever tried (51%). First product tried did not predict current tobacco use and non-use, but individuals who first tried SLT or cigarettes (rather than hookah or ETPs) were more likely to be poly tobacco users. Current tobacco users who first tried ETPs or hookah were largely non-daily users of hookah; current tobacco users who first tried cigarettes or SLT were largely non-daily or daily users of cigarettes/SLT.
Conclusions: Hookah and ETPs are increasingly becoming the first tobacco product ever tried by youth; however, uptake of ETPs is poor, unlike cigarettes and SLT, and does not appear to lead to significant daily/non-daily use of cigarettes and SLT.
Copyright © 2015 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.