Smokeless Tobacco Use among Canadian Youth in Grades 9-12
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Youth represent a substantial portion of smokeless tobacco (ST) users in Canada compared to the general population. Highest prevalence of use is typically seen in males, in current smokers, and in the Western provinces. ST use has also been associated with youth who participate in sports teams. Furthermore, ST has been marketed to youth through the use of flavours and sweeteners to make ST more attractive and appealing. The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of ST use among Canadian youth and examine factors associated with its use. The study used self-report data from 29,007 grade 9-12 youth who participated in the 2010-2011 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS). Logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with ST ever and current use among Canadian youth as well as among the sub-population of youth smokers. A mediation analysis was also used to understand if (a) sports team participation or (b) physical activity mediate an association between attempting to quit smoking and ST use among youth smokers. In 2010-2011, 5.3% of Canadian youth had ever used ST and 1.9% were current ST users. Odds of ST use were highest among males, grade 12 students, youth with more than $100 of weekly spending money and current smoking youth. This study was the first to identify associations between both physical activity and sports team participation and ST use among grade 9-12 Canadian youth. Continued monitoring of ST use among youth is recommended. Additionally, further research is needed to explore beyond individual-level factors and understand broader influences of ST use among youth.