Individual Health Determinants that Predict Low Risk of Transitioning to Tobacco Use During Young Adulthood: An In-Depth Examination of Race and Ethnicity

Journal: Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2022, doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntac106

Authors: Kimberly Horn, Ian Crandell, Minal Patel, Shyanika W. Rose, Barbara Schillo, Shanell Folger, Debra Bernat & Steve Branstetter


Introduction: The present study examines the contributions of individual-level health determinants on young adult tobacco use initiation to improve understanding of racial and ethnic distinctions and to inform effective tobacco prevention strategies.

Methods: Using time-to-event analyses, the 10-wave (2011-2016) Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort, a probability-based, nationally representative sample of the US young adults aged 18-34 years (N = 7 665), provides data to examine differences in variables that influence tobacco uptake, by race and ethnicity.

Results: Among Non-Hispanic White young adults, having fewer peers who smoke cigarettes is protective against any tobacco initiation, whereas hazard of tobacco initiation increases for males, having low confidence to resist smoking, and having higher proclivity for sensation seeking. Depressive and anxiety symptoms increase uptake hazard most in the Non-Hispanic All Other Races group and least among Non-Hispanic Black individuals. Among Hispanic young adults, being female and perceiving tobacco as harmful are notably protective while being male is a notable uptake hazard. Unlike other groups, higher income levels do not lower hazards among Hispanic individuals. Cannabis use and overestimating the smoking rate among peers increase hazard least among Hispanic individuals. In the Non-Hispanic All Other Races group, aging is least protective; hazard increases notably if individuals engage in regular alcohol or cannabis use.

Conclusions: Tobacco prevention efforts are critical during young adulthood. Specific tobacco uptake hazard and protective factors exist by race and ethnicity and should be considered when developing selective young adult prevention, particularly among groups with the highest risk for tobacco initiation during this life stage.

Implications: Rising rates of tobacco initiation among the US young adults necessitate expanded efforts to prevent tobacco use initiation and progression beyond youth. Results highlight nuanced and differential tobacco uptake hazards by race and ethnicity for late initiation and sustained non-tobacco use among young adults. The study confirms existing evidence on tobacco use patterns and contributes to new knowledge on risk and protective factors. Tobacco prevention and control interventions, including policies, tailored in more meaningful ways could reduce tobacco use disparities among those most disproportionately affected.

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Performance Metrics of Substance Use Disorder Care among Medicaid Enrollees in New York, New York

Journal: JAMA Health Forum, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2022.1771

Authors: Margarita Alegría, Irene Falgas-Bague, Marie Fukuda, Jenny Zhen-Duan, Cole Weaver, Isabel O’Malley, Timothy Layton, et al.


Importance: There is limited evaluation of the performance of Medicaid managed care (MMC) private plans in covering substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

Objective: To compare the performance of MMC plans across 19 indicators of access, quality, and outcomes of SUD treatment.

Design setting and participants: This cross-sectional study used administrative claims and mandatory assignment to plans of up to 159 016 adult Medicaid recipients residing in 1 of the 5 counties (boroughs) of New York, New York, from January 2009 to December 2017 to identify differences in SUD treatment access, patterns, and outcomes among different types of MMC plans. Data from the latest years were received from the New York State Department of Health in October 2019, and analysis began soon thereafter. Approximately 17% did not make an active choice of plan, and a subset of these (approximately 4%) can be regarded as randomly assigned.

Exposures: Plan assignment.

Main outcomes and measures: Percentage of the enrollees achieving performance measures across 19 indicators of access, process, and outcomes of SUD treatment.

Results: Medicaid claims data from 159 016 adults (mean [SD] age, 35.9 [12.7] years; 74 261 women [46.7%]; 8746 [5.5%] Asian, 73 783 [46.4%] Black, and 40 549 [25.5%] White individuals) who were auto assigned to an MMC plan were analyzed. Consistent with national patterns, all plans achieved less than 50% (range, 0%-62.1%) on most performance measures. Across all plans, there were low levels of treatment engagement for alcohol (range, 0%-0.4%) and tobacco treatment (range, 0.8%-7.2%), except for engagement for opioid disorder treatment (range, 41.5%-61.4%). For access measures, 4 of the 9 plans performed significantly higher than the mean on recognition of an SUD diagnosis, any service use for the first time, and tobacco use screening. Of the process measures, total monthly expenditures on SUD treatment was the only measure for which plans differed significantly from the mean. Outcome measures differed little across plans.

Conclusions and relevance: The results of this cross-sectional study suggest the need for progress in engaging patients in SUD treatment and improvement in the low performance of SUD care and limited variation in MMC plans in New York, New York. Improvement in the overall performance of SUD treatment in Medicaid potentially depends on general program improvements, not moving recipients among plans.

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A Qualitative Exploration of the Functional, Social, and Emotional Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People who Use Drugs

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2022, doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159751

Authors: Erin L. Kelly, Megan K. Reed, Kathryn M. Schoenauer, Kelsey Smith, Kristina Scalia-Jackson, Sequoia Kay Hill, Erica Li & Lara Weinstein


Since 2020, people who use drugs (PWUD) experienced heightened risks related to drug supply disruptions, contamination, overdose, social isolation, and increased stress. This study explored how the lives of PWUD changed in Philadelphia over a one-year period. Using semi-structured interviews with 20 participants in a Housing First, low-barrier medication for opioid use (MOUD) program in Philadelphia, the effects of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic on the daily lives, resources, functioning, substance use, and treatment of PWUD were explored. Interviews were analyzed using a combination of directed and conventional content analysis. Six overarching themes emerged during data analysis: (1) response to the pandemic; (2) access to MOUD and support services; (3) substance use; (4) impacts on mental health, physical health, and daily functioning; (5) social network impacts; and (6) fulfillment of basic needs. Participants reported disruptions in every domain of life, challenges meeting their basic needs, and elevated risk for adverse events. MOUD service providers offset some risks and provided material supports, treatment, social interaction, and emotional support. These results highlight how there were significant disruptions to the lives of PWUD during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and identified critical areas for future intervention and policies.

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Association of Screening and Brief Intervention with Substance Use in Massachusetts Middle and High Schools

Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.26886

Authors: Sharon Levy, Lauren E. Wisk, Machiko Minegishi, Benjamin Ertman, Julie Lunstead, Melissa Brogna & Elissa R. Weitzman


Importance: Screening and brief intervention (SBI) programs in schools have the potential to provide substance use prevention messages to large numbers of adolescents. This study evaluated the association between exposure to a school-based SBI program and reductions in substance use among youths after enactment of a law that required Massachusetts schools to provide SBI to all students.

Objective: To estimate the association between exposure to a school-based SBI program and changes in substance use among youths.

Design, Setting, and Participants: In this mixed-method quality improvement study using an effectiveness-implementation hybrid design, stakeholder interviews were conducted to describe the operations, timing, and impressions of SBI implementation at 14 intervention schools in Massachusetts. Repeated cross-sectional surveys of youths in intervention and comparison groups were administered between December 19, 2017, and May 22, 2019, to assess substance use and associated measures of perceived risk, knowledge, and adult support before and approximately 3 months after SBI implementation among exposed groups. A difference-in-differences framework was used to estimate substance use outcomes associated with SBI exposure among students in middle school (grades 7 and 8) and high school (grades 9 and 10) using adjusted overlap-weighted generalized models to account for covariate imbalance between exposed and unexposed school grades. In addition, 14 school staff members were interviewed about implementation.

Exposures: Exposure vs nonexposure to a school-based SBI program.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Frequency of alcohol, cannabis, and e-cigarette use (measured in days) and any binge drinking in the past 3 months.

Results: Between December 2017 and May 2019, 8771 survey responses were collected from 4587 students in grades 7 through 10 who were attending one of 23 participating school districts. The median (IQR) age was 13 (13-14) years (range, 12-17 years); 2226 students self-identified as female (48.5%), 2206 (48.1%) as male, and 155 (3.4%) as transgender or preferred not to answer. Overall, 163 students (3.6%) identified their race as Asian, 146 (3.2%) as Black or African American, 2952 (64.4%) as White, and 910 (19.8%) as mixed or other race (including American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander); 416 students (9.1%) preferred not to answer or were missing data on race. A total of 625 students (13.6%) identified their ethnicity as Hispanic and 3962 (86.4%) as non-Hispanic. Cannabis use increased over time in both the SBI group (middle school: marginal estimated probability, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.21-2.51] at baseline vs 2.01 [95% CI, 0.60-6.70] at follow-up; high school: marginal estimated probability, 2.86 [95% CI, 0.56-14.56] at baseline vs 3.10 [95% CI, 0.57-16.96] at follow-up) and the control group (middle school: marginal estimated probability, 0.24 [95% CI, 0.05-1.03] at baseline vs 3.38 [95% CI, 0.81-14.18] at follow-up; high school: marginal estimated probability, 1.30 [95% CI, 0.27-6.29] at baseline vs 1.72 [95% CI, 0.34-8.66] at follow-up). e-cigarette use also increased over time in both the SBI group (middle school: marginal estimated probability, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.22-3.01] at baseline vs 1.94 [95% CI, 0.53-7.02] at follow-up; high school: marginal estimated probability, 3.82 [95% CI, 0.72-20.42] at baseline vs 3.51 [95% CI, 0.55-22.59] at follow-up) and the control group (middle school: marginal estimated probability, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.12-2.30] at baseline vs 3.40 [95% CI, 0.72-16.08] at follow-up; high school: marginal estimated probability, 2.29 [95% CI, 0.41-12.65] at baseline vs 3.53 [95% CI, 0.62-20.16] at follow-up). Exposure to SBI was associated with a significantly smaller increase in the rate of cannabis use among middle school students (adjusted rate ratio [aRR], 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.86) and significantly smaller increases in the rates of cannabis and e-cigarette use among all female students (cannabis use: aRR, 0.17 [95% CI, 0.03-0.96]; e-cigarette use: aRR, 0.16 [95% CI, 0.03-0.82]) compared with nonexposure. No other significant differences were observed among students in grades 7 and 8, and no differences were found in any comparison between groups in grades 9 and 10.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this quality improvement study, exposure to a school-based SBI program was associated with a significantly smaller increase in the rate of cannabis use among middle school students and significantly smaller increases in the rates of cannabis and e-cigarette use among all female students. These findings suggest that implementation of SBI programs in schools may help to reduce substance use among middle school and female students, and further study of these programs is warranted.

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A Smoking Cessation Mobile App for Persons Living With HIV: Preliminary Efficacy and Feasibility Study

Journal: JMIR Formative Research, 2022, doi: 10.2196/28626

Authors: Rebecca Schnall, Jianfang Liu, Gabriella Alvarez, Tiffany Porras, Sarah Ganzhorn, Samantha Boerner, Ming-Chun Huang, Paul Trujillo & Patricia Cioe


Background: The prevalence of smoking in the United States general population has gradually declined to the lowest rate ever recorded; however, this has not been true for persons with HIV.

Objective: We conducted a pilot test to assess the feasibility and efficacy of the Lumme Quit Smoking mobile app and smartwatch combination with sensing capabilities to improve smoking cessation in persons with HIV.

Methods: A total of 40 participants were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned 1:1 to the control arm, which received an 8-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy, a 30-minute smoking cessation counseling session, and weekly check-in calls with study staff, or to the intervention arm, which additionally received the Lumme Quit Smoking app and smartwatch.

Results: Of the 40 participants enrolled, 37 completed the follow-up study assessments and 16 used the app every day during the 56-day period. During the 6-month recruitment and enrollment period, 122 people were screened for eligibility, with 67.2% (82/122) deemed ineligible. Smoking criteria and incompatible tech were the major reasons for ineligibility. There was no difference in the proportion of 7-day point prevalence abstinence by study arm and no significant decrease in exhaled carbon monoxide for the intervention and control arms separately. However, the average exhaled carbon monoxide decreased over time when analyzing both arms together (P=.02).

Conclusions: Results suggest excellent feasibility and acceptability of using a smoking sensor app among this smoking population. The knowledge gained from this research will enable the scientific community, clinicians, and community stakeholders to improve tobacco cessation outcomes for persons with HIV.

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