Majority of Young Tobacco Users Tried a Flavored Product First

Monday, October 26, 2015

A majority of youths who report having used tobacco say their first experience using tobacco involved a flavored product. That’s the key finding of new research based on the first large U.S. study to survey users about a wide variety of tobacco products, and its implications for public health and health policy are significant, say the study’s authors.

Writing in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Bridget K. Ambrose, PhD, MPH, of the Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and colleagues outline their analysis of flavored tobacco use as reported by U.S. youth participating in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a study of 45,971 U.S. adults and youth. Youths ages 12-17 responded to questions about use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, pipe tobacco, various forms of smokeless tobacco, dissolvable tobacco, bidis and kreteks. Among those reporting that the first product they used was flavored were 89 percent of hookah users, 81 percent of e-cigarette users, 65 percent of cigar users and 50 percent of cigarette smokers.

Andrew Hyland, PhD, Scientific Principal Investigator of the PATH Study and a co-author on the new study, notes that most of the young tobacco users responding to the survey also reported that they were currently using flavored tobacco products.

“Manufacturers will often report that flavored products are not designed to appeal to children and teens, but the feedback from the young people we interviewed tells us that flavored tobacco is strongly appealing to this age group, and that it appeals across a whole spectrum of tobacco products,” says Dr. Hyland, Chair of Roswell Park’s Department of Health Behavior.

For more information, see the JAMA study.

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