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Design and methods of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

Abstract

Background This paper describes the methods and conceptual framework for Wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study data collection. The National Institutes of Health, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is partnering with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products to conduct the PATH Study under a contract with Westat.

Methods The PATH Study is a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort study of 45 971 adults and youth in the USA, aged 12 years and older. Wave 1 was conducted from 12 September 2013 to 15 December 2014 using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing to collect information on tobacco-use patterns, risk perceptions and attitudes towards current and newly emerging tobacco products, tobacco initiation, cessation, relapse behaviours and health outcomes. The PATH Study's design allows for the longitudinal assessment of patterns of use of a spectrum of tobacco products, including initiation, cessation, relapse and transitions between products, as well as factors associated with use patterns. Additionally, the PATH Study collects biospecimens from consenting adults aged 18 years and older and measures biomarkers of exposure and potential harm related to tobacco use.

Conclusions The cumulative, population-based data generated over time by the PATH Study will contribute to the evidence base to inform FDA's regulatory mission under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and efforts to reduce the Nation's burden of tobacco-related death and disease.

  • Public policy
  • Prevention
  • Surveillance and monitoring

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