Overlap in use of different types of tobacco among active duty military personnel
Objective: To describe the prevalence and overlapping combinations in past thirty-day cigarette use, smokeless tobacco use, and cigar use in the active duty U.S. military.
Methods: Data were taken from the 2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel. A total of 28,546 service members participated for a response rate of 70.6%.
Results: Analyses showed that 41.2% of active duty service members used one or more forms of tobacco in the past month. Cigarette use only was most prevalent (21.3%); other combinations were much lower ranging from 0.7% to 13.5%. Multinomial regression modeling yielded no consistent patterns in sociodemographic groups with higher risk of using one or more types of tobacco concurrently. Frequency and quantity of cigarette use were related to tobacco use patterns. From 60% to 67% of smokers were daily users of cigarettes only or cigarettes in combination with other tobacco types. The majority of cigarette users (54%–69%) smoked 15 or fewer cigarettes/day regardless of tobacco use patterns, but those who smoked at heaviest levels were most likely to use all 3 tobacco types (19%).
Conclusions: Four of 10 service members place themselves at increased risk of tobacco-related illness and disease by using one or more types of tobacco. Daily cigarette smokers and very heavy smokers are at highest risk of using multiple tobacco types. Further research is needed to better understand the levels of use and the reasons for use of multiple types of tobacco.