Longitudinal Uses of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study

Tob Regul Sci. 2021 Jan;7(1):3-16. doi: 10.18001/trs.7.1.1.


Objectives: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study is a nationally representative study of the US population on tobacco use and its effects on health, with 3 waves of data collection between 2013 and 2016. Prior work described the methods of the first wave. In this paper, we describe the methods of the subsequent 2 waves and provide recommendations for how to conduct longitudinal analyses of PATH Study data.

Methods: We use standard survey quality metrics to evaluate the results of the follow-up waves of the PATH Study. The recommendations and examples of longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses of PATH Study data follow a design-based statistical inference framework.

Results: The quality metrics indicate that the PATH Study sample of approximately 40,000 continuing respondents remains representative of its target population. Depending on the intended analysis, different survey weights may be appropriate.

Conclusion: The PATH Study data are a valuable resource for regulatory scientists interested in longitudinal analysis of tobacco use and its effects on health. The availability of multiple sets of specialized survey weights enables researchers to target a wide range of tobacco-related analytic questions.

Keywords: longitudinal study; nonresponse bias; response rates; survey data; survey weights.