Objectives: Japan is currently the biggest market of heated tobacco products (HTPs) in the world. Little is known about nicotine dependence among HTP users. Thus, the objective was to assess the association of type of tobacco use and time-to-first-use, a marker of nicotine dependence.
Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of the 2019 data from an internet cohort study was conducted. The analytical sample consisted of 2147 current (≥1 day use in the past 30 days) HTP and/or conventional cigarette users, aged 25+ years. Marginal structural binomial regression was used to estimate nicotine dependence prevalence ratios (PRs) for each category of tobacco use (exclusive daily cigarette, exclusive HTP (≥1 day), dual HTP+daily cigarette, dual HTP+non-daily cigarette), relative to exclusive, non-daily cigarette smoking.
Results: Using a 5 min cut-off for time-to-first-use, the prevalence of nicotine dependence was higher among dual users of HTP and daily cigarettes (PR=1.38; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.82) and exclusive, daily cigarette users (PR=1.48; 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.91), relative to exclusive, non-daily cigarette users. However, nicotine dependence among exclusive HTP users, and dual HTP+non-daily cigarette users, did not differ from that of exclusive, non-daily cigarette users. When using 15 and 30 min cut-offs, all types of users, including exclusive HTP, had higher levels of nicotine dependence relative to exclusive, non-daily cigarette users.
Conclusions: Regardless of HTP use, daily cigarette users had higher prevalence of nicotine dependence compared with non-daily cigarette users. Exclusive HTP users had similar (or potentially higher) dependence compared with exclusive, non-daily cigarette users. Longitudinal studies are needed to interrogate the public health implications of growing HTP use worldwide.
Keywords: addiction; co-substance use; nicotine; non-cigarette tobacco products; surveillance and monitoring.
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