Parental incarceration and youth tobacco product use: Implications for prevention and the e-cigarette epidemic

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Purpose: Youth smokers have high rates of adverse childhood experiences, and particularly parental incarceration (PI). In Minnesota, 16% of youth have experienced PI, but 55% of daily smokers report PI. However, no research has examined how PI relates to a range of tobacco products, which is critical considering the current e-cigarette epidemic. There is also limited research on protective factors for tobacco use among youth with PI. Methods: Data came from 2016 Minnesota Student Survey (N = 111,091); 85% of Minnesota schools participated. We assessed 30-day use of cigarettes, non-cigarette combustible products, smokeless products, e-cigarettes, and dual/poly use. Using descriptive statistics and logistic regressions, we compared use across current, previous, and no PI experience. We also tested how protective factors related to tobacco use. Results: Youth with current PI experience used all products with higher frequency compared to youth with previous and no PI experience. Use prevalence among youth with current PI were 26.0% (95% CI = 24.1, 27.8) for e-cigarettes, 20.8% (95% CI = 19.1, 22.5) for dual/poly use, 17.8% (95% CI = 16.2, 19.5) for cigarettes, 17.4% (95% CI = 15.8, 19.0) for combustible non-cigarettes, and 9.9% (95% CI = 8.6, 11.2) for smokeless products. Nearly all protective factors were significantly and negatively related to use of all products, regardless of PI experience. Conclusions: Youth with PI experience are at high risk for using multiple tobacco products. These disparities were most pronounced for e-cigarettes, demonstrating the e-cigarette epidemic is disproportionately occurring among youth with current and previous PI experience. All examined protective factors buffer risks for this population of youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106428
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • E-cigarettes
  • Parental incarceration
  • Tobacco-related disparities
  • Youth populations

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