This study examined the association of four domains of human capital development (cognitive development, social and emotional development, physical health, and mental health) and exclusive and concurrent tobacco and cannabis use (TCU) among Black youth.
Nationally representative annual cross-sectional data for Black adolescents (12-17years; N = 9017) in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2015-2019 were analyzed. Analyses examined the influence of human capital factors (cognitive development, social and emotional development, physical health, and mental health) on exclusive and concurrent TCU.
In total, 50.4% were males; prevalence of 12-month tobacco use fluctuated insignificantly between 5.6% and 7.6% across survey years. Similarly, prevalence of 12-month cannabis use remained relatively stable around 13%, with no significant linear change. Prevalence of concurrent TCU also fluctuated insignificantly between 3.5% and 5.3%. Investment in cognitive development decreased the odds of tobacco (aOR=0.58, p<0.001), cannabis (aOR=0.64, p<0.001), and concurrent tobacco and cannabis (aOR=0.58, p<0.001) use. Similarly, investment in social and emotional development reduced the odds of tobacco (aOR=086, p<0.001), cannabis (aOR=0.83, p<0.001) and concurrent tobacco and cannabis (aOR=0.81, p<0.001) use. Good physical health reduced the odds of tobacco (aOR=0.52, p<0.1), cannabis (aOR=0.63, p<0.05), and concurrent tobacco and cannabis use (aOR=0.54, p<0.05). Major depressive episode increased the likelihood of cannabis use (aOR=1.62, p<0.001).
Investment in cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of human capital development, and physical health among Black youth is protective against TCU. Efforts to sustain human capital development among Black adolescents may contribute to reducing TCU disparities.
This is one of few studies to examine human capital development factors and its associations with tobacco and cannabis use among Black youth. Efforts to eliminate tobacco/cannabis-related disparities among Black youth should also invest in social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health development opportunities.