Roll-your-own Cigarette Smoking Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 205 (December 2019). doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107632

Posted on RAND.org on December 12, 2019

by Joan S. Tucker, William G. Shadel, Rachana Seelam, Daniela Golinelli, Daniel Siconolfi

Read More

Access further information on this document at Drug and Alcohol Dependence

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Introduction

Roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette smoking is uncommon among young smokers in the U.S. but may be more widespread among those experiencing homelessness as it is a less expensive source of cigarettes. This study examines the prevalence and correlates of RYO use among young cigarette smokers experiencing homelessness.

Methods

The analytic sample consisted of 433 unaccompanied homeless youth who reported past month use of factory-manufactured cigarettes. Participants were sampled from 25 street and service sites in Los Angeles County, and completed a survey on their tobacco-related behaviors and cognitions.

Results

RYO use was reported by 43% of cigarette smokers. Among those who filled RYOs with tobacco, 87% rolled them with used tobacco (typically mixed with new tobacco). Most RYO smokers reported engaging in high-risk smoking practices, such as smoking discarded cigarettes. Although RYO smokers were more likely than other smokers to perceive RYOs as less risky in general, these groups did not differ in the perceived relative harm, expense, and ease of access of RYOs compared to regular cigarettes. Multivariable analyses indicated that RYO use was associated with older age, less perceived riskiness of RYOs, greater exposure to RYO smokers, and stronger future intentions to smoke.

Conclusion

RYOs may encourage continued tobacco use among youth experiencing homelessness and pose additional health risks despite users' beliefs to the contrary. Future research is needed to obtain more detailed information on RYO practices and motivations for use, as well as how to address RYOs in efforts to reduce tobacco use in this population.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.