Transitions in tobacco use profiles among adolescents: Results from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study waves 3 and 4

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Journal Article

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Drug and alcohol dependence






Adolescence; Latent transition analysis; Polytobacco use; Risk factors


INTRODUCTION: Despite increases in adolescents' polytobacco use, little work has utilized recent national data to examine transitions in polytobacco use over time or predictors of such transitions. METHODS: Data derived from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. Participants used at least one tobacco product (cigarettes, electronic cigarettes [ECIGs], traditional cigars, cigarillos, filtered cigars, snus, smokeless tobacco [SLT], hookah) at Wave 3 (W3; 2015-2016) or 4 (W4; 2016-2018) and had Wave 1 (W1) data (N = 1072; M= 13.71, SD =1.71, 46.4% female; 56.6% White, 23.2% Hispanic). Latent transition analysis (LTA) examined probabilities of transitioning between classes across waves and sociodemographic correlates of transitions. RESULTS: Five latent classes were identified: Low Users (n = 372, 34.7% W3; n = 249, 23.3% W4), ECIG Users (n = 256, 23.8% W3; n = 286, 26.7% W4), Cigarette Users (n = 215, 20.1% W3; n = 293, 27.3% W4), SLT Users (n = 91, 8.5% W3; n = 92, 8.6% W4), and Polytobacco Users (n = 138, 12.9% W3; n = 152, 14.1% W4). Cigarette Users and SLT Users displayed the highest probabilities for class stability. Low Users were most likely to transition to ECIG Users or Cigarette Users, whereas Polytobacco Users were most likely to transition to Low Users. ECIG Users were likely to transition to Low Users or Cigarette Users. Older and White adolescents were more likely to display riskier transitions. CONCLUSIONS: Although Cigarette Users and SLT Users remained largely stable in membership, findings demonstrate greater movement across polytobacco use classes relative to previous research and suggest that ECIGs may be the most common entry point to tobacco use.


Prevention and Community Health