Characteristics and Patterns of Black & Mild Use Among African American Smokers

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Increased consumption of little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs) among late adolescent and young adult African American smokers is an emerging public health concern. Despite a growing body of epidemiological evidence, there is scant research on systematic variations in LCC use among young adult African Americans. This study aimed to disaggregate African American Black & Mild (B&M) smokers and to identify subgroups of cigarillo smokers’ behaviors and associated characteristics.


Using telephone screening data for a NIH-funded clinical laboratory study of toxicant exposure associated with B&M use, latent class analysis (LCA) was used to classify 331 African American B&M smokers’ based on daily use, average daily consumption, preference for flavors, preference for product design tips, and product modification behaviors.


Results showed five classes, three of which (Daily-Hypers, Daily-Flavored, and Heavy-Daily-Hypers) reflected daily use and average daily consumption rate ranging between 2.7 and 8.9 B&M cigarillos per day. Non-Daily-Hypers and Non-Daily-Flavored classes represented non-daily use patterns and averaged less than 1.0 B&M cigarillo per day. Both sets of classes defined by daily users and non-daily users included smokers who preferred flavored tobacco and who practiced product modification techniques involving hyping and blunting.


Latent class analysis is a useful method to detect subtle differences in B&M product preferences and smoking behaviors among African Americans. Study findings highlight the importance of developing tailored interventions that consider within group differences in order to reduce the prevalence of cigarillo smoking among those with the greatest burden.


The current study is the first to identify unique subgroups of African American B&M smokers based on cigarillo use behaviors and associated characteristics. Latent class analyses may prove useful for understanding other subgroups of tobacco users. Current findings concerning patterns of LCC use illustrate how future tobacco cessation and prevention interventions may be tailored for African American smokers.

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