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U.S. Trends in Age of Cigar Smoking Initiation by Race/Ethnicity and Education

      Introduction

      Younger age of initiating cigar smoking is associated with greater nicotine dependence and current use. Age of initiating cigarette smoking has increased over time, whereas trends in age of initiating cigar smoking remain understudied. These trends were examined by race/ethnicity, by education, and at their intersection.

      Methods

      The analytic sample included U.S. Hispanic, Black, and White cigar-ever-smokers aged 24‒25 years (n=29,715) from the 2002‒2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Participants reported their age, race/ethnicity, sex, education (≤high school; some college; ≥bachelor's degree), age of initiating cannabis use, and cigar smoking. Weighted multivariable linear regressions adjusted for sex and age of cannabis use initiation were used to examine trends in age of initiating cigar smoking by race/ethnicity, education, and education Χ year interactions within racial/ethnic groups. Age of initiating cigar smoking comparisons across race/ethnicity and education were examined using the most recent 2019 data.

      Results

      During 2002‒2019, across education, White cigar-ever-smokers started smoking cigars at an older age, whereas it remained unchanged among Hispanic cigar-ever-smokers. Among Black cigar-ever-smokers, age of initiating cigar smoking did not change among those with ≤high school and some college, and was older among those with ≥bachelor's degree. In 2019, age of initiating cigar smoking did not vary by educational level among Hispanic and White cigar-ever-smokers. Black cigar-ever-smokers with ≥bachelor's degree initiated cigar smoking at older ages than their White counterparts.

      Conclusions

      Black individuals experienced widening education-related disparities, and Hispanic individuals had no progress in delaying age of initiating cigar smoking. Regulatory action banning cigar flavors may impact these trends.
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