Statistically derived patterns of smoking typologies among adolescents and their associations with demographic characteristics, interpersonal influences, and sources of cigarettes


Cigarette use is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with most smokers beginning cigarette use in adolescence. Despite not being of legal age to make tobacco purchases, adolescents are quite successful in their acquisition. The current study used latent variable mixture modeling to identify smoking typologies among adolescents and examine associations with various sources of cigarettes (i.e., stealing, obtaining from friends, obtaining from family members, purchasing), social influences (parental objection to smoking, smoking friends), and demographics. Participants were 195 high school students caught with tobacco in school who completed surveys questions about their cigarette use, and cigarette use of family and friends. Results identified three latent classes pertaining to smoking patterns: recent, heavy, frequent smokers (RHFS), low infrequent smokers (LIS), and recent moderate smokers (RMS). Students in the RHFS and RMS groups were more likely to obtain cigarettes by purchasing or borrowing from a friend, and reported more friends who smoke and lower parental objection compared to LIS members. RHFS members also were more likely to obtain cigarettes from family and be of White race compared to the other groups. These findings highlight the need for tailored prevention or intervention programs depending on risk profile.

Publication Title

Children's Health Care