Objective: The relation between respiratory symptoms and the range of tobacco product use among US adolescents/young adults is not yet clear. This cross-sectional analysis examines tobacco product use and respiratory symptoms in a nationally representative sample of 21,057 adolescents/young adults aged 12–24 years from Wave 4 (2016–17) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Methods: Presence of functionally important respiratory symptoms was defined by questions regarding wheezing and nighttime cough at a cutoff score associated with poorer functional health status. Past-30-day tobacco use was analyzed 2 ways: never-tobacco users (reference) versus combustible users, noncombustible-only users, and former users; or frequency of use of cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes. Weighted Poisson regression adjusted for past-30-day marijuana use, secondhand smoke exposure, and asthma. Results: Functionally important respiratory symptoms were present in 10.0% overall: 13.8% of combustible users, 9.0% of noncombustible users, 8.2% of noncurrent users and 9.7% of never users. Functionally important respiratory symptoms were associated with combustible tobacco use (relative risk [RR] = 1.52[95% CI 1.29, 1.80]), marijuana use (RR = 1.54[1.34, 1.77]) and secondhand smoke exposure (RR = 1.04[1.03, 1.05]). Higher cigarette smoking frequency was also associated with functionally important respiratory symptoms for frequency categories >14 days/month (eg, RR = 1.93[1.50, 2.49] for 15–29 days/month). Frequency of e-cigarette use was not associated with functionally important respiratory symptoms. Conclusions: During 2016–17, smoking cigarettes, marijuana use, and secondhand smoke exposure were cross-sectionally associated with functionally important respiratory symptoms in adolescents/young adults. Risk increased with increased frequency of cigarette use but not e-cigarette use. Given changes to contemporary e-cigarettes and use, findings may not generalize to newer products.
- respiratory symptoms
- tobacco use
- young adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health