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Risk perceptions and continued smoking as a function of cigarette filter ventilation level among US youth and young adults who smoke


Background While evidence demonstrates that the industry’s marketing of cigarettes with higher filter ventilation (FV) misleads adults about their health risks, there is no research on the relationships between FV, risk perceptions and smoking trajectories among youth (ages 12–17) and young adults (ages 18–24).

Methods Data on FV levels of major US cigarette brands/sub-brands were merged with the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study to examine whether FV level in cigarettes used by wave 1 youth/young adults (n=1970) predicted continued smoking at waves 2–4, and whether those relationships were mediated by perceived risk of their cigarette brand. FV was modelled based on tertiles (0.2%–11.8%, low; 11.9%–23.2%, moderate; 23.3%–61.1%, high) to predict daily smoking, past 30-day smoking and change in number of days smoking at successive waves.

Results The odds of perceiving one’s brand as less harmful than other cigarette brands was 2.21 times higher in the high versus low FV group (p=0.0146). Relationships between FV and smoking outcomes at successive waves were non-significant (all p>0.05).

Conclusion Youth and young adults who use higher FV cigarettes perceived their brand as less harmful compared with other brands. However, level of FV was not associated with continued smoking.

  • public policy
  • packaging and labelling
  • prevention
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • addiction

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. Data used in the analysis include data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study (US) Restricted-Use Files ( Data on filter ventilation values of cigarette brands are not publicly available.

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