Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Correlates of tobacco product initiation among youth and young adults between waves 1-4 of the population assessment of tobacco and Health (PATH) study (2013-2018).



While risk factors for cigarette smoking among youth and young adults are well-documented, less is known about the correlates of initiation of other tobacco products. This study aims to provide estimates and correlates of initiation among U.S. youth and young adults.


Data on youth aged 12-17 (n = 10,072) and young adults aged 18-24 (N = 5,727) who provided information on cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), cigars, pipe, hookah and smokeless tobacco use in Wave 1 (W1: 2013-2014)-Wave 4 (W4: 2016-2018) of the nationally-representative PATH Study were used to calculate ever use initiation and correlates of initiation by W4.


Nearly 6 million youth and 2.5 million young adults used tobacco for the first time between W1-W4. Approximately one quarter of youth and young adult ENDS never users initiated ENDS between W1-W4 of the PATH Study. Among youth, use of other tobacco products, ever substance use, and high externalizing problems were associated with initiation of most products. Among young adults, use of other tobacco products and ever substance use were associated with initiation of most products. In both youth and young adults, Hispanics were more likely to initiate hookah use than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. While male sex was a risk factor for most tobacco product initiation across both age groups, it was not associated with hookah initiation.


Cigarette and non-cigarette products shared many correlates of initiation, although there are noteworthy demographic differences. Findings can help tailor product specific interventions to reach populations at risk during preliminary stages of use.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View