Tobacco 21 (T21) policies have shown promise in reducing cigarette use among adolescents. This study examined whether local T21 policies affected adolescent use of a variety of tobacco products and whether results differed by grade level.
We used repeated cross-sectional data from eighth, ninth, and eleventh-grade respondents to the 2016 (n = 107 981) and 2019 (n = 102 196) Minnesota Student Surveys. Generalized estimating equations modeled eight adolescent tobacco use outcomes in 2019 (past 30-day use of any tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah, chewing tobacco, flavored tobacco, and multiple products) by T21 exposure, defined as respondents’ attendance at a school within a jurisdiction with T21 policy implementation between the two surveys. Models controlled for demographic characteristics and product-specific baseline tobacco use at the school level in 2016 and were stratified by grade.
After adjusting for baseline tobacco use and other demographics, T21-exposed eighth and ninth-grade students had significantly lower odds of tobacco use than unexposed peers in five of eight models, i.e. any tobacco (aOR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.74, 0.87), cigarettes (aOR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.67, 0.99), e-cigarettes (aOR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.85), flavored tobacco (aOR = 0.79, CI: 0.70, 0.89), and dual/poly tobacco (aOR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.65, 0.92). T21-exposed eleventh-grade students did not differ significantly in their odds of any tobacco use outcomes relative to their unexposed peers.
T21 exposure is associated with lower odds of multiple forms of tobacco use, particularly among younger adolescent populations, supporting the implementation of T21 policies to reduce tobacco use in this population.