Objective: To better understand mechanisms influencing health in African Americans (AAs), the aims of this study were (a) to identify longitudinal cigarette smoking classes among AAs across adolescence and into young adulthood; (b) to identify risk factors for smoking and how cardiometabolic health in adulthood differs by smoking class; and (c) to investigate whether smoking mediates the relation between adolescent risk factors and adult cardiometabolic health.
Method: This study used 4 waves of nationally representative data, restricted to an AA subsample (N = 2,009). Participants self-reported on multilevel risk factors in adolescence and smoking across adolescence and young adulthood; cardiometabolic risk was assessed in adulthood. Growth mixture modeling and structural equation modeling were conducted.
Results: Five classes emerged: nonsmoker; early onset, heavier smoking; later onset; early onset, light smoking; and maturing out or declining smoking. Predictors of class membership included living with individuals who smoke, having friends who smoke, and limited access to medical care. The early onset, light smoking class had the greatest cardiometabolic risk. Smoking class mediated the relation between living with people who smoke in adolescence and adult cardiometabolic risk.
Conclusions: Nuanced smoking patterns among AAs were identified, and 23% fell into classes characterized by an early onset and persistent smoking trajectory. The early onset, light smoking class had the greatest cardiometabolic risk in adulthood. The results suggest unique protective factors may be present for youth who remain nonsmokers even when their family smokes. Results have implications for health promotion and tobacco prevention efforts among AA families. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).