Ecological momentary assessment of various tobacco product use among young adults

Carla J. Berg, Regine Haardörfer, Jackelyn B. Payne, Betelihem Getachew, Milkie Vu, Alexandra Guttentag, Thomas R. Kirchner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Young adults are at high risk for using traditional and novel tobacco products. However, little is known about daily/weekly use patterns or psychosocial triggers for using various tobacco products. Methods: This ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study examined timing, tobacco cravings, affect, social context, and other substance use (alcohol, marijuana) in relation to use of cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and any tobacco product (i.e., cigarettes, ENDS, cigars, hookah), respectively. We also examined interactions between these predictors, sex, and race/ethnicity. From a longitudinal study of 3418 18–25 year-olds from seven Georgia colleges/universities, we recruited 72 reporting current tobacco use to participate in the 21-day EMA study; 43 participated, of which 31 completed ≥66% assessments and were analyzed. Cravings, affect, social context, and substance use were assessed daily across four four-hour windows. Results: Of the 31 participants, average age was 21.10 years (SD = 1.95), 45.2% were female, and 71.0% non-Hispanic White; 71.0% used cigarettes, 58.1% ENDS, 38.7% cigars, and 25.8% hookah (25.6% used one product, 46.5% two, 27.9% ≥ three). Predictors of cigarette use included higher anxiety, greater odds of marijuana and alcohol use, and higher boredom levels among women. Predictors of ENDS use included being non-White and greater odds of marijuana use, as well as higher tobacco cravings among women and higher boredom among men. Predictors of any tobacco product use included being non-White, higher boredom levels, and greater odds of marijuana and alcohol use. Conclusions: Distinct interventions may be needed to address use of differing tobacco products among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Risk factors
  • Substance use
  • Tobacco use
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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