The association between alcohol, marijuana use, and new and emerging tobacco products in a young adult population

Addict Behav. 2015 Sep;48:79-88. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.02.005. Epub 2015 Apr 11.


Background: Young adults have the highest rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use relative to any other age group. Few studies have examined the co-occurrence of substance use with new and emerging tobacco products in this vulnerable group, or the underlying personality factors that may explain these associations. To address this gap, this study examined the association of current alcohol and marijuana use with the use of cigarettes and emerging tobacco products in a nationally representative sample of young adults.

Methods: Data were drawn from 18 to 24year olds in Wave 4 (January 2013; n=1609) of the Legacy Young Adult Cohort, a nationally-representative sample of men and women. Never, ever (lifetime), and past 30-day use of little cigars/cigarillos (LCCs), hookah, e-cigarettes, and cigarettes were assessed separately in current (everyday or some days) alcohol and marijuana users.

Results: Using weighted estimates, multivariable multinomial logistic regression models showed that current alcohol and marijuana use were associated with lifetime and past 30-day use of cigarettes, LCCs, e-cigarettes, and hookah, with different magnitudes of association found across each product. Post-hoc exploratory analyses showed that sensation-seeking traits moderated the relationship of alcohol (but not marijuana) use to current use of select tobacco products.

Discussion: Marijuana and alcohol use may enhance risk for emerging tobacco products use in young adulthood. Prevention and intervention programs may need to target poly-use of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco rather than focusing on a single risk behavior during these critical years.

Keywords: Alcohol; Emerging tobacco products; Hookah; Marijuana; Sensation-seeking; e-Cigarettes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult