Correlates of tobacco product initiation among youth and adults in the USA: findings from the PATH Study Waves 1-3 (2013-2016)

Tob Control. 2020 May;29(Suppl 3):s191-s202. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-055671.


Objective: To report on demographic and tobacco product use correlates of tobacco product initiation (cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), cigars, hookah and smokeless tobacco) among the US population.

Design: Data were from the first three waves (2013-2016) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort study of US youth (aged 12-17 years) and adults (aged 18+ years). Never users of at least one type of tobacco product at Wave 1 (W1, 2013/14) or Wave 2 (W2, 2014/15) were included (n=12 987 youth; n=25 116 adults). Generalised estimating equations were used to evaluate the association between demographic and tobacco product use characteristics at baseline, and tobacco product initiation at follow-up (ever, past 30 day (P30D), frequent (use on 20 or more of thepast 30 days)) over two 1-year periods (W1-W2 and W2-Wave 3).

Results: Youth aged 15-17 years were more likely than youth aged 12-14 years and adults aged 18-24 years were more likely than older adults to initiate P30D tobacco use across products; non-heterosexuals were more likely than heterosexuals to initiate P30D cigarette and ENDS use. Older adults were more likely than young adults, and males were more likely than females, to be frequent users of ENDS on initiation. Ever use of another tobacco product predicted P30D initiation of each tobacco product.

Discussion: Other tobacco product use and age predict P30D tobacco initiation across products whereas associations with other demographic characteristics vary by product. Continued contemporary evaluation of initiation rates within the changing tobacco product marketplace is important.

Keywords: disparities; electronic nicotine delivery devices; non-cigarette tobacco products; prevention; surveillance and monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaping / epidemiology
  • Young Adult