Changes in use of cigarettes and non-cigarette alternative products among college students

Addict Behav. 2015 Oct;49:46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.05.005. Epub 2015 May 16.


Introduction: The present study examined change in use of various smoked and smokeless non-cigarette alternative products in a sample of college students, stratified by current, or past 30-day, cigarette smoking status.

Methods: Participants were 698 students from seven four-year colleges in Texas. Participants completed two waves of online surveys regarding tobacco use, knowledge, and attitudes, with 14 months between each wave.

Results: The most prevalent products used by the entire sample at Wave 1 were cigarettes, followed by hookah, cigars/cigarillos/little cigars, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). At Wave 2, prevalence of e-cigarette use surpassed use of cigars/cigarillos/little cigars. Snus and chew/snuff/dip were relatively uncommon at both waves. Examination of change in use indicated that e-cigarette use increased across time among both current cigarette smokers and non-cigarette smokers. Prevalence of current e-cigarette use doubled across the 14-month period to 25% among current smokers and tripled to 3% among non-cigarette smokers. Hookah use also increased across time, but only among non-cigarette smokers, whereas it decreased among current cigarette smokers. Use of all other non-cigarette alternatives remained unchanged across time. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the socio-demographic predictors of Wave 2 e-cigarette use, the only product that increased in use among both current cigarette smokers and non-cigarette smokers. Results indicated that Wave 1 current cigarette use and Wave 1 current e-cigarette use, but not gender, age, or race/ethnicity, were significantly associated with Wave 2 e-cigarette use.

Conclusions: Findings underscore the need to track changes in the use of non-cigarette alternatives and call for additional research examining the factors contributing to change in use.

Keywords: Chewing tobacco; Cigars; Electronic nicotine delivery systems; Hookah; Non-cigarette alternatives.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult