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Tob Regul Sci. 2017 Jul;3(3):367-373. doi: 10.18001/TRS.3.3.12.

Perceived Flavored Smokeless Tobacco Ease-of-use and Youth Susceptibility.

Author information

1
Assistant Professor, University of California San Francisco, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, San Francisco, CA.
2
Clinical Research Coordinator, University of California San Francisco, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, San Francisco, CA.
3
Professor, University of California San Francisco, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, San Francisco, CA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Beliefs that flavored smokeless tobacco (ST) is more pleasant, less potent, or otherwise easier to use could contribute to youth initiation. We evaluated associations between perceived ease-of-use of flavored ST (moist snuff and chewing tobacco) and ST initiation susceptibility in a representative sample of US youth.

METHODS:

Among 7,718 tobacco never-users in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study (age: 12-17; collected: 2013-2014), we compared 4 ST susceptibility items (curiosity, expectation, willingness to try, and a composite) according to whether participants reported flavored ST to be "easier to use" than unflavored ST. We calculated marginal prevalences of ST susceptibility and odds ratios adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics, tobacco advertisement receptivity, warning label exposure, and sensation seeking.

RESULTS:

ST susceptibility was greatest among tobacco never-users who perceived flavored ST as easier to use. Adjusted odds of potential ST susceptibility (≥1 item) were 1.5-fold higher (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 1.8) among adolescents who perceived flavored ST as easier to use than unflavored ST.

CONCLUSIONS:

ST flavors could contribute to perceptions that facilitate youth initiation. Alternatively, youth susceptible to ST use may perceive flavored varieties differently. Prospective studies are warranted to strengthen causal evidence and measure ST initiation according to perceived ease-of-use.

KEYWORDS:

adolescents; epidemiology; flavor; smokeless tobacco

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