Gender, smoking status, and risk behavior attitudes explain adolescents' patterns of nicotine replacement therapy use


Treatment studies provide minimal support for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with youth; however, survey studies suggest that adolescents use NRT, and may engage in inappropriate use. The current study sought to examine patterns of NRT use and risk factors for use to further aid smoking cessation efforts including prevention of potential misuse. In-school surveys assessing socio-demographic and behavioral factors associated with NRT use, gum or patch, were completed by 4078, predominantly African American, high school students. Approximately 5% of students reported former or current use of NRT products: 42% gum, 29% patch, and 29% both gum and patch. Among smokers, 5.4% reported use of both NRT gum and patch, with exclusive use of gum twice as likely as exclusive use of the patch. Those with high-risk-taking attitudes were more likely than low-risk takers (3% vs. 1%) to report use of both products, with exclusive gum use more prevalent than patch use. A cumulative logit model revealed males, risk takers, and/or smokers were at greatest odds for NRT use. Among this adolescent sample, NRT gum was used more often than the patch. Adolescent males, risk takers, and/or smokers appear more likely to use NRT (gum and/or patch) compared to their counterparts, despite limited empirical support for effective use of these products as cessation aids among adolescents. Smoking cessation and prevention programs may emphasize appropriate NRT use, specifically within these populations. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors