Association between Use of Flavoured Tobacco Products and Quit Behaviours: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Survey of US Adult Tobacco Users

Background: Non-menthol characterising flavours (eg, fruit, candy) are banned in cigarettes, yet are still permitted in non-cigarette tobacco (NCT) products. This study examined associations between first use and current use of flavoured tobacco products, and current flavoured tobacco use and quit behaviours.

Methods: A nationally representative, telephone-based survey completed in 2012 by 1443 US adult tobacco users asked about use of 9 tobacco products: cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, little filtered cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco and snus. Ever users reported first use of flavoured products, while current users also reported current flavoured product use. Current users reported quit attempts made in the past year. Data were weighted to reflect the US adult tobacco user population. Logistic regression models were used to examine associations between first/current flavour use and quit behaviours.

Results: Over 70% of respondents reported first use of a flavoured tobacco product, while 54% reported current use of at least one flavoured product. Odds of current flavoured product use were greater among those who reported first use of a flavoured product (OR 14.82, 95% CI 9.96 to 22.06). First use of a flavoured product was associated with being a current tobacco user (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.22). Compared to single product users, polytobacco users exhibited greater odds of reporting current use of flavoured products (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.97). Forty-four percent of current tobacco users reported a past-year quit attempt. Adjusted analyses among current NCT users of at least one flavoured tobacco product showed reduced odds of reporting a quit attempt.

Conclusions: First use of a flavoured tobacco product was associated with current flavoured tobacco use and polytobacco use. Users of only flavoured NCT products exhibited reduced odds of reporting a quit attempt. Findings from this study reinforce the importance of flavoured product availability in the USA, which may have significant implications for efforts to reduce tobacco initiation and use at a population level. The relationship between characterising flavours and quit behaviours merits further exploration in longitudinal, population-based samples.

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October 2016

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