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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Self-Identified Tobacco Use and Harm Perceptions Among US Youth.

Friday, April 13, 2018  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Israel Agaku, Satomi Odani, Constantine Vardavas, Linda Neff.
Self-Identified Tobacco Use and Harm Perceptions Among US Youth.
Pediatrics. 2018. (doi: https:// doi. org/ 10. 1542/ peds. 2017- 3523)
We investigated tobacco-related self-identity and risk perceptions among adolescent tobacco users. Data were analyzed for 20 675 US sixth- to 12th-graders from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Students who reported past-30-day use of a specific tobacco product or ≥2 products but denied having used “any tobacco product” in the past 30 days were classified as not self-identifying as tobacco users. Tobacco product harm perceptions were further assessed across products. Descriptive and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed. Among past-30-day users of ≥1 specific tobacco product type, those denying having used any tobacco products in the past 30 days included single-product users of roll-your-own and/or pipe tobacco (82.2%), electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) (59.7%), cigars (56.6%), hookah (44.0%), smokeless tobacco (38.5%), and cigarettes (26.5%) as well as poly-tobacco users (12.7%). The odds of denying using any tobacco products were higher among those without symptoms of nicotine dependence than those with symptoms (adjusted odds ratio = 2.16); and those who access their tobacco products via social sources than those who bought them (adjusted odds ratio = 3.81; all P < .05). Among those believing “all tobacco products” were harmful, single-product users of the following believed their own product was not harmful: e-cigarettes (74.6%), hookah (56.0%), smokeless tobacco (41.8%), and cigarettes (15.5%). Many of those who used certain tobacco products exclusively did not self-identify as tobacco users. Increasing the sensitivity of questions used to assess youth tobacco use in surveys and clinical settings can mitigate nondisclosure or underreporting of true tobacco use status.

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