Approximately 9 million American adults use two or more tobacco products regularly, referred to as dual or poly tobacco users. In Alaska, where tobacco is not native, approximately 20% of the population smokes cigarettes, and among smokers, 10% use two or more tobacco products. Previous research suggests that dual tobacco product use may be especially high among Alaska Native people. The current study examined cultural and demographic characteristics associated with dual tobacco use.
Alaska Native adults reporting daily smoking and identified with high blood pressure or cholesterol were recruited in the Norton Sound region of Alaska between 2015-2019 as part of a treatment trial targeting cardiovascular disease risk factors. Participants reported their tribal group, level of identification with their Alaska Native heritage, speaking of their tribal language, basic demographic characteristics, and past 30-day use of tobacco products in addition to smoking cigarettes.
Participants (n=299) were 48.5% female and identified as Yup'ik (31.1%), Inupiat (60.5%), and other or multiple tribal group(s) (8.4%). Most participants (85.3%) strongly identified with their Alaska Native heritage. Past 30-day dual tobacco use was reported by 10.0%, specifically 9.0% chew/snuff, 1.3% e-cigarettes, and 0.7% Iq'mik. Multivariate regression models indicated that dual tobacco use was more likely among men (OR=3.35; 95% CI: 1.30-8.64), younger participants (OR range: 10.97-12.35; 95% CI: 2.33-57.86), those identifying as Yup'ik (OR=2.86; 95% CI: 1.13-7.19), and those who identified very little or not at all with their Alaska Native heritage (OR=2.98; 95% CI: 1.14-7.77).
Young men identifying as Yup'ik were more likely to use dual forms of tobacco. Stronger identification with one's Alaska Native heritage was associated with lower risk of dual tobacco use. The findings highlight cultural and demographic factors for further consideration and attention in tobacco cessation treatment interventions.