Introduction Flavour capsule cigarettes are a recent product worldwide, and little is known about the epidemiology of their use. We used data from a nationally representative survey to understand the sociodemographic characteristics of flavour capsule cigarette smokers and reasons for flavour capsule use.
Methods Data were from the nationally representative, U.S. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health survey (2013–2014). Analyses included 7181 adults, aged 18–44 years, who were current or former established (≥100 lifetime cigarettes) cigarette smokers. Participants reported their usual brand of cigarettes which were classified as non-menthol, menthol or flavour capsule. Analyses assessed differences in participant demographics, smoking patterns and reasons for use by product type among those aged 18–24 years. Analyses were weighted to account for the survey design.
Results Flavour capsule cigarettes were the usual cigarettes among 9.4% of smokers aged 18–24 years and 6.0%, 3.7% and <1% of smokers aged 25–34, 35–44 and ≥45 years, respectively. Among smokers aged 18–24 year, a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic smokers (17.3%) usually used flavour capsule cigarettes versus non-Hispanic white (8.4%, P<0.05) and non-Hispanic black (3.2%, P<0.05) smokers. Flavour capsule use was associated with later onset of smoking and lower levels of nicotine dependency and flavour capsule users placed more emphasis on taste, lower price and pack design than menthol or non-menthol users.
Conclusions Flavour capsule cigarettes use is highest in young adults, particularly Hispanics. Young adult predominance, lower level of addiction symptoms and emphasis on pack design by flavour capsule users suggest that these products may be positioned as starter products.
- flavor capsules
- menthol cigarettes
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Contributors JDS conceived the research question, wrote and revised the manuscript and oversaw data analysis; JAE wrote the manuscript and completed the analyses; SS and MFB contributed to data interpretation and manuscript revision. All authors approved of the final version.
Funding This research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, R01CA077026 and P30 CA023108. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the sponsor.
Ethics approval The institutional review board at the contracting research organisation for PATH approved the study design and protocol, and the Office of Management and Budget approved the data collection instrument.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.