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Ever-Use and Curiosity About Cigarettes, Cigars, Smokeless Tobacco, and Electronic Cigarettes Among US Middle and High School Students, 2012–2014

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction Among young people, curiosity about tobacco products is a primary reason for tobacco experimentation and is a risk factor for future use. We examined whether curiosity about and ever-use of tobacco products among US middle and high school students changed from 2012 to 2014. Methods Data came from the 2012 and 2014 National Youth Tobacco Surveys, nationally representative surveys of US students in grades 6 through 12. For cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes (2014 only), students were classified as ever-users or never-users of each product. Among never-users, curiosity about using each product was assessed by asking participants if they had “definitely,” “probably,” “probably not,” or “definitely not” been curious about using the product. Results From 2012 to 2014, there were declines in ever-use of cigarettes (26% to 22%; P = .005) and cigars (21% to 18%; P = .003) overall and among students who were Hispanic (cigarettes, P = .001; cigars, P = .001) or black (cigarettes, P = .004; cigars, P = .01). The proportion of never-users reporting they were “definitely not” curious increased for cigarettes (51% to 54%; P = .01) and cigars (60% to 63%; P = .03). Ever-use and curiosity about smokeless tobacco did not change significantly from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, the proportion of young people who were “definitely” or “probably” curious never-users of each product was as follows: cigarettes, 11.4%; e-cigarettes, 10.8%; cigars, 10.3%; and smokeless tobacco, 4.4%. Conclusion The proportion of US students who are never users and are not curious about cigarettes and cigars increased. However, many young people remain curious about tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Understanding factors driving curiosity can inform tobacco use prevention for youth.
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