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Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Apr;13(4):291-5. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntq247. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Complexity of measuring "cigar use" in adolescents: results from a split sample experiment.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945, USA.



Inclusion of brand-specific examples (BE) in health surveys assessing lifetime and current cigar use has been shown to impact response rates. A split sample experimental design was used to investigate whether these rates are consistent by race, gender, and geographic locale.


The 2009 Cuyahoga County Youth Risk Behavior Survey was conducted among 20 randomly selected high schools. Two versions of the survey were created; the first included items assessing lifetime and current cigar use with no brand-specific examples (NBE) while the second included BE in the items assessing cigar use. Both survey versions were distributed randomly within selected classrooms in participating schools.


Within the City, both White and Black BE respondents reported higher lifetime cigar product use prevalence and current cigar product use compared to the NBE group; however, the difference was only significant among Black respondents (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45, 95% CI 1.02-2.06). In the Outer Ring, White BE respondents were significantly less likely to report lifetime cigar use (OR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.54 - 0.98) and current cigar use (OR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.44-0.99) when compared with White NBE respondents.


Inclusion of BE in current measures of cigar product use may improve product use estimates in at-risk groups. However, better estimation of cigar product use may be accomplished by creating additional items to assess the use of subtypes of cigars.

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