Latent class analysis to examine patterns of smoking and other tobacco products in young adult bar patrons Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose

    Use of multiple tobacco products is increasing, particularly among young adults. Latent class analysis of substance-use patterns provides a framework for understanding the heterogeneity of use. We sought to identify different patterns of cigarette, e-cigarette, hookah, cigarillo, and smokeless tobacco use among young adult bar patrons.


    We conducted repeated cross-sectional surveys of randomized time location samples of young adult California bar patrons in 2013 and 2014. Latent class analysis was used to examine patterns of use among current (past 30-day) tobacco users. Classes were compared on demographic characteristics and tobacco use correlates.


    Overall 84.4% of the current tobacco users were cigarette smokers, 38.7% used electronic cigarettes, 35.9% used hookah, 30.1% smoked cigars/cigarillos, and 15.4% used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days. We extracted six latent classes: "Cigarette only" (n = 1690), "Hookah mostly" (n = 479), "High overall use" (n = 528), "Smokeless mostly" (n = 95), "E-cigarette mostly" (n = 439), "Cigars mostly" (n = 435). These classes differed in their risk profiles on both current use compared to no use, and number of days they used each tobacco product. Differences between classes emerged on demographics (age, sex, race/ethnicity) and tobacco correlates including perceived peer smoking, antitobacco industry attitudes, prioritizing social activities, and advertising receptivity.


    Understanding different patterns of multiple tobacco product use may inform both prevention and cessation programming for young adults. It may be efficient to tailor messages to different latent classes and address the distinct demographic and attitudinal profiles of groups of multiple tobacco product users.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019