Initial use of tobacco or marijuana and later use profiles in young adults

Amy J. Park, Milkie Vu, Regine Haardörfer, Michael Windle, Carla J. Berg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Given the relatively limited literature regarding risk factors for progression of alternative tobacco and marijuana use, this study examined initially-used tobacco or marijuana products and psychosocial risk factors such as adverse childhood events (ACEs), mental health (depression, ADHD), and parental substance use, in relation to young adult lifetime and current (past 30-day) tobacco and marijuana use. Methods Using cross-sectional data from a 2014–2016 study of 3418 young adult college students in Georgia, we analyzed lifetime and current use of various tobacco products (cigarettes, cigar products, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah) and marijuana among lifetime tobacco or marijuana users (N=1451) in relation to initially-used product as well as sociodemographic characteristics and psychosocial risk factors. Results Multivariable analyses indicated that more products ever used correlated with cigarettes being first used (vs cigars, B=−0.66; e-cigarettes, OR=−1.33; hookah, B=−0.99; and marijuana, B=−1.05; p<0.001), as well as being older (B=0.06), male (B=−0.72) and White (vs Black, B=−0.30; or Asian, B=−0.60), more adverse childhood events (ACEs, B=0.07), and parental marijuana use (B=0.47; p<0.05). Currently-used products correlated with cigarettes being first used (vs cigars, B=−0.18; e-cigarettes, B=−0.37; and hookah, B=−0.18; p<0.05), being younger (B=−0.04), male (B=−0.15), more depressive symptoms (B=0.01), and parental marijuana use (B=0.40; p<0.05). Current cigarette, smokeless tobacco, hookah and marijuana use demonstrated specificity to initially-used products. conclusions Initially-used products, specifically cigarettes, with well-documented and communicated risks, correlated with using more products subsequently among young adults, underscoring needed research on such risks and risk communication, and early intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalTobacco Prevention and Cessation
Issue numberMarch
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • alternative tobacco products
  • marijuana use
  • tobacco use initiation
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Epidemiology


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