The latest medical research on Addiction Medicine

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Multiple tobacco product use among cigarette smokers: a longitudinal examination of menthol and non-menthol smokers during young adulthood.

Tobacco Control

Multiple tobacco product (MTP) use is common among young adults. Most MTP users are combustible cigarette smokers that use one or more other tobacco products. This study aims to explore menthol as a risk factor for MTP use among a cohort of young adult cigarette smokers.

Participants were 18-29 years cigarette smokers at 24 Texas colleges in a 6-wave study. Participants (n=4700 observations) were classified as: single product users (ie, exclusive cigarette smoking); dual product users and poly product users. A multilevel, ordered logistic regression model was used to examine the association between menthol cigarette smoking and MTP use. Two longitudinal, multilevel, multinomial logistic regressions were used to examine the relationship between menthol cigarette smoking and number of tobacco products used.

Overall, 40.7% of the sample were single product users, 33.7% were dual product users and 25.6% were poly product users. Menthol was associated with 1.28 greater odds of MTP use. Further, menthol was associated with 1.19 greater risk of dual and 1.40 greater risk of poly product use, relative to single product use. Lastly, menthol cigarette smoking was associated with 1.18 greater risk of poly product use, relative to dual product use.

There was a gradient relationship between menthol cigarette smoking and number of tobacco products used among young adult cigarette smokers. Findings provide for greater regulatory and programmatic efforts to reduce the use of menthol cigarettes.

Associations between electronic cigarette use and quitting behaviours among South African adult smokers.

Tobacco Control

The South African Medicines Control Council classifies e-cigarettes as Schedule 3 substances and requires them to be dispensed only within pharmacies. e-Cigarettes are however ubiquitous and are marketed as cessation aids. We investigated the relationship between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation among South African adult smokers.

Data came from a 2018 web survey of South African adults aged ≥18 years (n=18 208). Cessation-related attitudes and behaviours were assessed. Using multivariable logistic regression, we measured the association between e-cigarette use and cessation behaviours among ever-established combustible tobacco smokers who tried to quit.

Among current combustible smokers, more e-cigarette ever versus never users believed e-cigarettes could assist smokers to completely quit (35.5% vs 20.4%) or cut down (51.7% vs 26.5%) (all p<0.05). Among ever-established smokers, the odds of sustained quitting at the 12-month mark were lower among those who used e-cigarettes once off/rarely (adjusted OR (AOR)=0.20, 95% CI=0.16-0.24), former e-cigarette users (AOR=0.30, 95% CI=0.24-0.38) and current e-cigarette users (AOR=0.23, 95% CI=0.18-0.29), compared with never e-cigarette users. Among ever-established smokers who had ever tried to quit, 53.6% relapsed into smoking after quitting for any length of time. The odds of relapsing among ever-established smokers who had made a quit attempt and had a quit intention were higher among those who used e-cigarettes once off/rarely (AOR=2.66; 95% CI=2.31-3.08), former e-cigarette users (AOR=1.41; 95% CI=1.18-1.69) and current e-cigarette users (AOR=1.85; 95% CI=1.55-2.22) than never e-cigarette users.

e-Cigarette use depressed long-term cessation. These findings can inform restrictions on unsubstantiated claims of e-cigarettes as cessation aids within South Africa.

Youth and young adult risk perceptions and behaviours in response to an outbreak of e-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the USA.

Tobacco Control

To determine whether awareness of emerging vaping-attributable health conditions influences vaping-related risk perceptions and behaviours among young people.

Respondents aged 15-24 years (n=3536) were drawn from a repeated cross-sectional online panel survey (222 participants/week) during an e-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak in the USA (September 2019-January 2020). Logistic regression models tested for associations between EVALI awareness and perceived lung injury risk and product harm, stratified by e-cigarette/vape use and controlling for awareness of other e-cigarette/vaping news stories, demographic characteristics and outbreak week. Other models measured the association between perceived risk of lung injury and intentions to use (non-users) or intentions to quit (current users) e-cigarettes/vape products. Changes in national retail e-cigarette sales data were examined during national EVALI outbreak reporting.

EVALI awareness was associated with: perceived risk of lung injury (current users OR 1.59, p=0.004; non-users OR 2.11, p<0.001); belief that e-cigarettes/vapes contain dangerous chemicals (current users OR 1.47, p=0.017; non-users OR 1.88, p<0.001) and belief that e-cigarettes/vapes are harmful (current users OR 1.66, p=0.002; non-users OR 1.67, p<0.001). Perceived risk of lung injury from e-cigarette/vape use was associated with intentions to own e-cigarette/vape products (ever-users OR 0.25, p<0.001; never-users OR 0.61, p=0.004) and intentions to quit among current users (OR 2.02, p=0.002). Declines in e-cigarette sales were observed following news of the EVALI outbreak.

News of vaping-attributable health conditions may prevent e-cigarette/vape use and encourage cessation among young people. Tobacco control campaigns should address uncertain health effects of e-cigarettes or vape products and align with risk communication by public health agencies during outbreaks.

Public support for cigarette price increase in Indonesia.

Tobacco Control

The current tobacco control policies in Indonesia are known to be ineffective in reducing tobacco consumption. Therefore, increasing cigarette prices is one of the effective instruments that should be supported by governments and society. This study aims to assess public support for cigarette price increases as well as to generate scientific evidence for the government and policymakers.

This cross-sectional survey obtained data through telephone interviews with 1000 respondents aged ≥18 years old in Indonesia. The interviews started from 1 May 2018 to 31 May 2018.

Respondents were varied in terms of age, gender, level of education, income, occupation, area of living and smoking status. This study found that 87.9% of the respondents including 80% of smokers support cigarette price increase to prevent children from buying cigarettes. Approximately 74.0% of smokers said they would stop smoking if cigarette prices were Rp70 000 (US$5) per package. The multivariate analysis revealed that age, income, money spent on cigarettes per day and the perception of current cigarette prices are the factors influencing support for higher cigarette prices.

The increase in cigarette prices is supported by society at large, including active smokers. The government must consistently adjust cigarette prices through an excise taxing and cigarette retail price mechanism. Governments, academicians, non-governmental organisations and tobacco control activists should generate a unified understanding that increasing cigarette prices will improve overall life quality.

Impact of cigarette package warnings on attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes in China: a nationwide study of smokers and non-smokers.

Tobacco Control

Sharing and gifting cigarettes are common in China. These social practices promote cigarette consumption, and consequently may reduce quit rates in China. This study investigated sharing and gifting cigarettes, and the relationship of observing pictorial health warnings to attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes in China.

We conducted an online nationwide cross-sectional study of 9818 adults in China. Experiences of sharing and gifting cigarettes, and attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes before and after viewing text and pictorial health warnings on the packages were assessed, and compared between smokers and non-smokers.

Most current smokers reported experiences of sharing (97%) and gifting (around 90%) cigarettes. Less than half of non-smokers reported sharing cigarettes and receiving gifted cigarettes, but over half (61.4%) gave cigarettes as a gift to others. More than half of non-smokers but less than 10% of smokers disagreed with sharing and gifting cigarettes. After observing both text and pictorial health warnings on the packages, disagreement with sharing and gifting cigarettes increased by more than 10 percentage points among both smokers and non-smokers.

Having pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages may reduce sharing and gifting cigarettes in China.

Exploring indigenous perspectives on tobacco tax: how some Māori families are responding in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tobacco Control

High smoking prevalence rates, combined with a steep tax on tobacco and lower household income, mean that 5% of Māori (indigenous) whānau (family unit) expenditure in New Zealand is on tobacco. This paper outlines whānau perceptions of, and behavioural responses to, increasing tobacco tax.

Interviews were separately conducted with each of 15 whānau units. A total of 72 participants, most of whom were smokers, took part in the interviews carried out in two geographical regions: one rural/provincial and one urban.

Whānau were concerned about the rising cost of tobacco. However, this concern had not generally translated into quit attempts. Whānau had instead developed innovative tobacco-related practices. Working collectively within their whānau, they were able to continue to smoke, although in a modified fashion, despite the rising costs of tobacco. Whānau thereby resisted the intended outcome of the government's tobacco tax which is to reduce rates of smoking prevalence.

In the face of significant government disinvestment in New Zealand tobacco control over the last 10 years, hypothecated taxes should be used to scale up Māori-specific cessation and uptake prevention programmes, supporting authentic Māori partnerships for endgame solutions including restricting the availability and appeal of tobacco.

Treatment use patterns in a large extended-treatment tobacco cessation program: predictors and cost implications.

Tobacco Control

Tobacco dependence follows a chronic and relapsing course, but most treatment programmes are short. Extended care has been shown to improve outcomes. Examining use patterns for longer term programmes can quantify resource requirements and identify opportunities for improving retention.

We analyse 38 094 primary care treatment episodes from a multisite smoking cessation programme in Ontario, Canada that provides free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and counselling. We calculate distributional measures of weeks of NRT used, clinical visits attended and total length of care. We then divide treatment courses into four exclusive categories and fit a multinomial logistic regression model to measure associations with participant characteristics, using multiple imputation to address missing data.

Time in treatment (median=50 days), visits (median=3) and weeks NRT used (median=8) were well below the maximum available. Of all programme enrolments, 28.8% (95% CI=28.3% to 29.3%) were single contacts, 31.3% (30.8% to 31.8%) lasted <12 weeks, 19.2% (18.8% to 19.6%) were ≥12 weeks with an 8-week interruption and 20.7% (20.3%-21.1%) were ≥12 weeks without interruptions. Care use was most strongly associated with participant age and whether the nicotine patch was dispensed at the first visit.

Treatment use results imply that the marginal costs of extending treatment programmes are relatively low. The prevalence of single contacts supports additional engagement efforts at the initial visit, while interruptions in care highlight the ability of longer term care to address relapse. Results show that use of the nicotine patch is associated with retention in care, and that improving engagement of younger patients should be a priority.

Association between e-cigarette use initiated after cigarette smoking and smoking abstinence: a cross-sectional study among adolescent established smokers in the USA.

Tobacco Control

Recent years have seen a rapid increase in the popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among adolescents in the USA. Evidence on their role in the continuation of or abstinence from cigarette smoking among young smokers remains scarce.

To examine the relationship between e-cigarette use initiated after cigarette smoking and abstinence from cigarette smoking among US adolescent established smokers.

The data were drawn from the 2015-2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey-a nationally representative survey of US middle and high school students. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between ever e-cigarette use and past 30-day abstinence from cigarette smoking. The analytical sample comprised ever established cigarette smokers with or without a history of e-cigarette use after smoking initiation.

Neither experimental (adjusted OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.39-1.14) nor prior established (adjusted OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.96-2.56) nor current established (adjusted OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.41-1.03) e-cigarette use was statistically significantly associated with subsequent abstinence from cigarette smoking among adolescent ever established smokers. These findings were largely consistent across sensitivity analyses using alternative key definitions, although experimental and current established e-cigarette use was significantly negatively associated with past 6-month abstinence.

We found no evidence that e-cigarette use among US adolescents already smoking cigarettes is associated with subsequent abstinence from cigarette smoking; there was some evidence of an inverse association among experimental and current established e-cigarette users. These findings could inform future regulatory and public health efforts regarding youth e-cigarette use and the reduction of youth cigarette smoking in the USA.

Case for raising the minimum legal age of tobacco sale to 25.

Tobacco Control

Restricting youth access to tobacco is an essential component of a comprehensive tobacco control policy. While there has been a growing movement to...

Smokeless tobacco products, supply chain and retailers' practices in England: a multimethods study to inform policy.

Tobacco Control

In England, many people of South Asian origin consume smokeless tobacco (ST). ST use can lead to oral cancer, which is disproportionately high in South Asians. Our aims were to assess the compliance of ST product retailers with statutory regulations and to explore the supply chain of ST.

We undertook a multimethods study between August 2017 and July 2019 in five English boroughs with a high proportion of ethnic South Asians. We purchased ST products and conducted field surveys with ST retailers at point of sale. Qualitative interviews were conducted with ST retailers and suppliers. ST packs were assessed for regulatory compliance, while quantitative and qualitative data triangulated information on retailers' practices and the ST supply chain.

We collected 41 unique ST products, which included dry snuff, naswar, gutka, chewing tobacco and zarda. ST products were not registered, and demonstrated low compliance with health warning (14.6%) and packaging (56.1%) requirements. ST availability in surveyed boroughs was high (38.2%-69.7%); dry snuff, naswar and zarda were most commonly available. ST retailers demonstrated limited knowledge of regulations, and one-third were found to advertise ST at point of sale. Qualitative insights revealed illicit supply and distribution networks, as well as ST production in discreet locations.

ST products are widely available in England, yet non-compliant with statutory regulations. In order to safeguard consumers, in particular ethnic South Asians, stronger efforts are needed to regulate the supply chain of ST at both national and international levels.

Effects of flavourants and humectants on waterpipe tobacco puffing behaviour, biomarkers of exposure and subjective effects among adults with high versus low nicotine dependence.

Tobacco Control

Flavourants and humectants in waterpipe tobacco (WT) increase product appeal. Removal of these constituents, however, is associated with increased intensity of WT puffing, likely due to reduced nicotine delivery efficiency. To clarify the potential public health outcomes of restrictions on flavourants or humectants in WT, we evaluated the effects of these constituents on puffing behaviours, biomarkers of exposure and subjective effects among adults with high versus low WT dependence.

N=39 high dependence and N=49 low dependence WT smokers (Lebanese Waterpipe Dependence Scale scores >10 = high dependence) completed four smoking sessions in a cross-over experiment. Conditions were preferred flavour with humectant (+F+H), preferred flavour without humectant (+F-H), unflavoured with humectant (-F+H) and unflavoured without humectant (-F-H). Measures of puff topography, plasma nicotine and expired carbon monoxide (eCO) boost, and subjective effects were assessed.

Level of WT dependence modified the effect of WT condition on average flow rate, average puff volume and eCO boost. Although, overall, participants puffed the +F+H WT least intensely and -F-H WT most intensely, this association was strongest among WT smokers with high dependence. Participants preferred smoking the +F+H WT and achieved the largest plasma nicotine boost in that condition.

Findings underscore the complexity of setting product standards related to flavourants and humectants in WT. Future research evaluating whether WT smokers with high dependence would quit or reduce their WT smoking in response to removal of flavourants or humectants from WT is necessary to appreciate the full public health effects of such policies.

Heated tobacco product use and combustible cigarette smoking relapse/initiation among former/never smokers in Japan: the JASTIS 2019 study with 1-year follow-up.

Tobacco Control

Use of heated tobacco products (HTPs), which were first launched in Japan, has been rapidly spreading worldwide. The present study aimed to investigate whether HTP use was associated with combustible cigarette smoking relapse/initiation among former/never combustible cigarette smokers.

A prospective cohort study was conducted by analysing two waves of data from the Japan 'Society and New Tobacco' Internet Survey. Among the 7766 never/former combustible cigarette smokers who answered the baseline survey in 2019, 5947 (follow-up rate: 76.6%) responded to the follow-up survey in 2020 (age range 18-73 years old; 50.5% men). The association between HTP use and combustible smoking after 1 year was investigated by multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for potential confounders.

Of the respondents, 308 (5.2%) used HTPs at baseline. One year later, 97 (1.7%) non-HTP users and 39 (12.7%) HTP users were smoking combustible cigarettes. Among former smokers who had quit for 1 year or more and among never smokers, HTP use was significantly associated with combustible cigarette smoking 1 year later (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.42 to 5.52 and OR=9.95, 95% CI 3.39 to 29.16, respectively), while the association was not significant among former smokers who recently quit.

HTP use was associated with relapse/initiation of combustible cigarette smoking after 1 year. The risks of HTP use, including subsequent combustible smoking, should be carefully monitored.