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Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Feb;10(2):315-23. doi: 10.1080/14622200701825858.

The development of tobacco use in adolescence among "snus starters" and "cigarette starters": an analysis of the Swedish "BROMS" cohort.

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  • 1Tobacco Prevention, Stockholm Centre for Public Health, and Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Whether the use of smokeless tobacco can facilitate the transition to cigarette smoking and/or to prolonged tobacco use in adolescence is unclear. We analyzed data from a cohort of 2,938 Swedish adolescents, with six follow-up assessments of tobacco use between the ages of 11 and 18 years. The majority of tobacco users (70%) started by smoking cigarettes, 11% took up snus before smoking, and 19% used both tobacco types close in time. Ever users of tobacco at baseline had a higher risk of being current smokers and/or smokeless tobacco users at the end of follow-up compared with never users, with the highest excess relative risk for "mixed users." Adolescents who initiated tobacco use with cigarettes had a non-significantly increased probability to end up as current smokers compared with snus starters (adjusted OR=1.42; 95% CI 0.98-2.10) The OR of smoking for "mixed starters" was 2.54 (95% CI 1.68-3.91). The risk of becoming current user of any tobacco was also significantly enhanced for "mixed starters." Marked sex differences were observed in these associations, as initiation with cigarettes rather than with snus predicted current smoking or tobacco use only among females. Progression of tobacco use in adolescence is not predicted by onset with snus or cigarettes, but rather by initiation with both tobacco types close in time and/or at young age. The proportion of adolescent smoking prevalence attributable to a potential induction effect of snus is likely small.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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