Motivation to Quit Cigarettes and Alternative Tobacco Products

Prevalence and Correlates Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Published in: Journal of Behavioral Medicine (2019). doi: 10.1007/s10865-019-00092-7

Posted on RAND.org on February 11, 2020

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

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Use of alternative tobacco products, as well as regular cigarettes, is widespread among unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. However, little is known about their level of motivation for quitting use of these products, factors associated with motivation to quit, or how these might vary by type of tobacco product. Unaccompanied homeless youth were sampled from 25 street and service sites in Los Angeles County (N = 469). All participants were past month tobacco users who completed a survey on their tobacco-related behaviors and cognitions, including motivation to quit, as well as background characteristics. Among self-reported users of each product, motivation to quit in the next 30 days was highest for regular cigarettes (33%), followed by e-cigarettes/vaporizers (30%), little cigars/cigarillos (25%), cigars (20%), and natural cigarettes (20%). Between 33 and 49% of youth, depending on product, were not thinking about quitting at all. Correlates of lower motivation to quit differed somewhat by product type, with the most consistent being race, more frequent use, lower perceived riskiness of the product, and using the product because of its good taste or smell. Results from this study identify a set of psychosocial and behavioral factors, some that are common across tobacco products and others that are product-specific, that may be particularly important to address in efforts to reduce tobacco use among youth experiencing homelessness. Future regulations on the sale of flavored tobacco products may also serve to increase motivation to quit in this population.

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