The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act provided the US Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products using a population health standard. Models have been developed to estimate the population health impacts of tobacco initiation, cessation and relapse transitions. Models should be informed by high-quality, longitudinal data to estimate these constructs. Simulation studies have generated data to predict the impact of various tobacco control interventions, including the influence of regulations on tobacco use behaviours and health. The purpose of this paper is to provide a high-level conceptual overview for understanding tobacco transition behaviours and correlates of these behaviours using data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a US nationally representative longitudinal tobacco study of about 46 000 persons aged 12+ years. The papers that follow in this journal issue build and expand on this conceptual overview using data from the first three waves of the PATH Study. These papers describe use patterns of different tobacco products and their correlates, and can serve as foundations for more in-depth papers that will help the research community better understand the population health impacts and drivers of different tobacco use patterns.
Keywords: electronic nicotine delivery devices; non-cigarette tobacco products; surveillance and monitoring.
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