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How Many Adolescents Are Using Flavored Tobacco-Free Oral Nicotine Products?

August 9, 2022

There are a variety of tobacco-free oral nicotine products being sold these days, including:

  • Nicotine pouches
  • Non-therapeutic nicotine gum
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • Nicotine tablets
  • Nicotine gummies

How prevalent is the use of these products among adolescents? Are these being used as often as e-cigarettes or tobacco products?

Alyssa Harlow, PhD and her colleagues from the University of Southern California sought to answer this question in their southern California region. Their article, which is being early released this week, is entitled, “Adolescent Use of Flavored Tobacco-1 Free Oral Nicotine Products” (10.1542/peds.2022-056586).

The authors surveyed 3,516 9th and 10th graders from 11 high schools in 7 school districts in southern California. They asked about use of tobacco-free oral nicotine and tobacco-containing products.

The most commonly used nicotine- or tobacco-containing product was e-cigarettes – nearly 10% had ever used e-cigarettes, and 5.5% had used them in the past 6 months. The second most commonly used product were flavored tobacco-free oral nicotine gums, lozenges, tablets, and/or gummies; 3.1% had ever used them, and 1.4% had used the in the past 6 months. Students were more likely to have ever used any tobacco-free oral nicotine product if they self-identified as 10th graders, Hispanic, any sexual minority, female/feminine, transgender or non-binary. Students who had ever used any tobacco products were also more likely to have ever used tobacco-free oral nicotine products.

It seems like the list of nicotine-containing products that we ask about just gets longer and longer, and I should add these oral nicotine products to the list!

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