Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Roll-your-own tobacco use among Canadian youth: is it a bigger problem than we think?

Scott T Leatherdale1* and Robin Burkhalter2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1

2 Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, Canadian Cancer Society, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:557  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-557

Published: 27 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Despite the apparent decline in the popularity of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes over the past few decades, RYO tobacco products are widely available and used by a substantial number of adult smokers. Considering research has yet to examine the prevalence of RYO tobacco use among youth populations, this manuscript examines the prevalence of RYO tobacco use and factors associated with RYO use in a nationally representative sample of youth smokers from Canada.

Methods

This study used data collected from 3,630 current smokers in grades 9 to 12 as part of the 2008-09 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS). Descriptive analyses of the sample demographic characteristics, smoking status, cigarettes per day, weekly spending money, and frequency of marijuana use were examined by RYO tobacco ever use and RYO tobacco current use. Two logistic regression models were used to examine factors associated with RYO tobacco ever use and RYO tobacco current use.

Results

We identified that 51.2% of current smokers were RYO ever users and 24.2% were RYO current users. The prevalence of RYO current users was highest in Atlantic Canada (40.1%) and lowest in Quebec (12.3%). RYO current users were more likely to be male (OR 1.27), to be daily smokers (OR 1.75), to use marijuana once a month or more (OR 2.74), and to smoke 11 or more cigarettes per day (OR 6.52). RYO current users were less likely to be in grade 11 (OR 0.65) or grade 12 (OR 0.40) and less likely to have between $20 to $100 (OR 0.44) or more than $100 (OR 0.45) of disposable income.

Conclusions

Developing a better understanding of RYO tobacco use among youth is important for advancing population-level tobacco control prevention strategies and cessation programs. We identified that RYO tobacco use is not a negligible problem among Canadian youth. Ongoing research is needed to continue monitoring the prevalence of RYO use among youth and the factors associated with its use, but to also monitor if this more affordable tobacco product is being targeted to price sensitive youth smokers.

Keywords:
Roll-your-own tobacco; Disposable income; Youth; Drug use; Smoking