Tobacco use transitions in the United States: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Prev Med. 2015 Dec;81:251-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.08.026. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to evaluate and describe transitions in cigarette and smokeless tobacco (ST) use, including dual use, prospectively from adolescence into young adulthood.

Methods: The current study utilizes four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine patterns of cigarette and ST use (within 30 days of survey) over time among a cohort in the United States beginning in 7th-12th grade (1995) into young adulthood (2008-2009). Transition probabilities were estimated using Markov modeling.

Results: Among the cohort (N=20,774), 48.7% reported using cigarettes, 12.8% reported using ST, and 7.2% reported dual use (cigarettes and ST in the same wave) in at least one wave. In general, the risk for transitioning between cigarettes and ST was higher for males and those who were older. Dual users exhibited a high probability (81%) of continuing dual use over time.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that adolescents who use multiple tobacco products are likely to continue such use as they move into young adulthood. When addressing tobacco use among adolescents and young adults, multiple forms of tobacco use should be considered.

Keywords: Adolescent; National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health; Smokeless; Smoking; Tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / trends
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult