Longitudinal Patterns of Multiple Tobacco and Nicotine Product Use Among Texas College Students: a Latent Transition Analysis

  • Stephanie L. ClendennenEmail author
  • Alexandra Loukas
  • MeLisa R. Creamer
  • Keryn E. Pasch
  • Cheryl L. Perry


Diverse tobacco and nicotine products have altered the terrain of tobacco use behaviors. Limited research has examined contemporary patterns of use among young adults. This study identified tobacco and nicotine product use groups and examined changes in young adults’ use patterns, across a 1.5-year period. Participants were 5,482 18–29-year-old students (M age = 20.5, SD = 2.36; 63% female) from 24 Texas colleges who completed a four-wave bi-annual online survey. Latent transition analysis was used to identify groups from 10 items (ever and current use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and hookah) and to examine probabilities of transitioning between groups over four waves. Five groups were identified: Non-users (30%), Poly-experimenters (26%), Hookah experimenters (18%), E-cigarette & hookah experimenters (15%), and Poly-cigarette users (11%). Few students transitioned between groups over time. Poly-cigarette users had the highest average probability of remaining stable over time (1.00), followed by E-cigarette & hookah experimenters (.97), Non-users (.94), Poly-experimenters (.93), and Hookah experimenters (.92). All groups became more stable over time except Hookah experimenters whose members were most likely to transition to Poly-cigarette users or other experimenter groups. The greatest transition was from Poly-experimenters to Poly-cigarette users with probabilities of .10, .08, and .03 for transitioning between waves one and two, two and three, and three and four, respectively. There was substantial poly-use and experimentation, which may explain little movement between groups over the 1.5-year time period and underscores the need for prevention programs targeting multiple product use among college students.


Latent transition analysis Young adults Tobacco use Electronic cigarette use Multiple tobacco product use 


Source of Funding

Research reported in this presentation was supported by grant number (1 P50 CA180906) from the National Cancer Institute and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Promotion and Behavioral SciencesThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) School of Public Health in AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Kinesiology and Health EducationThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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