271429 Freak'em, Blunt'em, & Smoke'em: Adolescent use of modified cigar products

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Erika S. Trapl, PhD , Department Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Laura Danosky, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Leslie Cofie, MA, MPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Jacqueline Matloub, MD , Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Lewis Burrell III , Prevention Specialist, Wake Up Call Media, Shaker Heights, OH
Nichelle Shaw, MPH , Community Health Services, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Parma, OH
Background: Local community members and health experts have expressed concerns regarding adolescents' misperception of modified cigar products as a safer form of smoking. Some adolescents believe that removing the filter paper from cigars (“freaking”), or replacing the tobacco content – usually with marijuana (“blunting”), reduces the adverse health effects of smoking. Research is limited on adolescent freaking and blunting behaviors. Therefore, we examined the use of modified cigar products among high school students in a diverse, Mid-Western county. Methods: We used the 2011 High School Cuyahoga County Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data (N=12737) to examine demographic characteristics, lifetime and current (past 30 day) blunting and freaking behaviors, as well as cigarette, cigar (including little and flavored cigars and cigarillos), and marijuana use. Results: Compared with current cigarette (11.4%) and cigar (17.0%) use, marijuana use was the highest (22.1%). In the past 30 days, 9.7% of high school students had freaked a cigar and 16.4% had blunted a cigar. Among current cigar users, 45.4% freaked, 65.9% blunted, 35.6% both freaked and blunted a cigar in the past 30 days. Among current marijuana users, 68.1% of students had blunted a cigar. High rates of blunting among current cigar and marijuana users persist in all races and regions of the county. Conclusions: Numerous studies demonstrate the importance of including cigar products in prevention and cessation programs. However, assessing rates, characteristics, and beliefs of adolescents using modified cigar products is a critical addition to the body of knowledge informing appropriate interventions for this growing problem.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the practice of "blunting" and "freaking" among adolescents. 2) Examine differences in use rates of "blunting" and "freaking" by race, gender and geographic locale. 3) Compare and contrast characteristics of current “freakers” and “blunters.” 4) Discuss potential approach to tobacco and drug prevention and cessation interventions.

Keywords: Cigars, Marijuana

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in the design and analysis of the survey data and have prior knowledge surrounding little cigar use among adolescents.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.