Co-occurrence of tobacco product use, substance use, and mental health problems among adults: Findings from Wave 1 (2013-2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Aug 1;177:104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.03.032. Epub 2017 May 30.


Background: Although non-cigarette tobacco product use is increasing among U.S. adults, their associations with substance use and mental health problems are unclear. This study examined co-occurrence of tobacco use, substance use, and mental health problems, and its moderation by gender, among 32,202U.S. adults from Wave 1 (2013-2014) of the nationally representative longitudinal Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.

Methods: Participants self-reported current cigarette, e-cigarette, traditional cigar, cigarillo, filtered cigar, hookah, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco product use; past year alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use; and past year substance use, internalizing and externalizing problems.

Results: Compared to non-current tobacco users, current users were more likely to report alcohol or drug use (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.6; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3, 2.9), with the strongest associations observed for cigarillo and hookah users. Across all tobacco product groups, users were more likely to report internalizing (AOR=1.9; 95% CI: 1.7, 2.1), externalizing (AOR=1.6; 95% CI: 1.5, 1.8), and substance use (AOR=3.4; 95% CI: 2.9, 4.1) problems than non-users. Gender moderated many of these associations and, of these, all non-cigarette tobacco product associations were stronger among females.

Conclusions: This nationally representative study of U.S. adults is the first to comprehensively document tobacco use, substance use, and mental health comorbidities across the range of currently available tobacco products, while also demonstrating that female tobacco users are at increased risk for substance use and mental health problems. These findings may point to gender differences in vulnerability and suggest that interventions incorporate gender-specific approaches.

Keywords: Cannabis; Comorbidity; Epidemiologic studies; Gender; Mental health; Tobacco.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health / trends*
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects
  • Young Adult