Racial Disparities in Flavored Commercial Tobacco Product Use, Curiosity, Susceptibility, and Harm Perception, National Youth Tobacco Survey 2019-2020

Studies characterizing racial and ethnic differences in youth flavored commercial tobacco product use prevalence, curiosity/susceptibility, and harm perceptions are limited.  This study examines racial and ethnic differences in flavored commercial tobacco product use, curiosity and susceptibility related to commercial tobacco product use, and harm perceptions among U.S. middle and high school students.

Among youth who currently used commercial tobacco, use of flavored commercial tobacco products increased across all racial and ethnic groups; the largest increase was observed among Hispanic youth using other flavored commercial tobacco products (30.3%).  The group with the highest susceptibility to future electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use was Hispanic students (42.3%).  Hispanic students also had the highest curiosity about the future use of cigarettes and cigars.

Increases in the use of and higher susceptibility to other flavored commercial tobacco products, particularly among Hispanic youth, suggest a need for changes in social and environmental conditions that support the use of commercial tobacco products and commercial tobacco control interventions that are culturally sensitive for Hispanic youth.

Given that flavored commercial tobacco use is prevalent among youth and aggressively marketed more to racial and ethnic minority populations, it is important to understand how susceptibility and perceptions relate to commercial tobacco use.  These results suggest a need for a better understanding of social and environmental factors that drive tobacco use behaviors and perceptions, particularly among Hispanic youth, to address the root causes of these differences and create equitable commercial tobacco control interventions.

This article is online here:  https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/heq.2022.0087

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