Background: Most youth and young adult (YA) tobacco users use flavoured products; however, little is known about specific flavours used.
Methods: We report flavour types among US tobacco users from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, wave 2, 2014-2015. At wave 2, we examined (1) flavour use and type at past 30-day use; (2) new flavoured tobacco product use and type; (3) product-specific flavour patterns across youth (ages 12-17) (n=920), YA (18-24) (n=3726) and adult (25+) (n=10 346) past 30-day and new tobacco users and (4) concordance between self-coded and expert-coded brand flavour type among all adults (18+).
Results: Prevalence of flavoured tobacco product use was highest among youth, followed by YA and adult 25+ any tobacco users. Within each age group, flavoured use was greatest among hookah, e-cigarette and snus users. Overall, menthol/mint, fruit and candy/sweet were the most prevalent flavour types at first and past 30-day use across age groups. For past 30-day use, all flavour types except menthol/mint exhibited an inverse age gradient, with more prevalent use among youth and YAs, followed by adults 25+. Prevalence of menthol/mint use was high (over 50% youth, YAs; 76% adults 25+) and exhibited a positive age gradient overall, though the reverse for cigarettes. Brand-categorised and self-reported flavour use measures among adults 18+ were moderately to substantially concordant across most products.
Conclusions: Common flavours like menthol/mint, fruit and candy/sweet enhance appeal to young tobacco users. Information on flavour types used by product and age can inform tobacco flavour regulations to addess flavour appeal especially among youth.
Keywords: non-cigarette tobacco products; packaging and labelling; public policy; surveillance and monitoring.
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