Despite well-established negative health consequences of smokeless tobacco use (STU), the number and variety of alternative non-combustible tobacco products on the market have increased tremendously over the last 10 years, as has the market share of these products relative to cigarettes. While STU among non-Hispanic white youth has decreased over the last 10 years, the prevalence has remained constant among Hispanic youth. Here we examine demographic, psychosocial, and genetic risk associated with STU among Mexican heritage youth.
Participants (50.5 % girls) reported on psychosocial risk factors in 2008–09 (n = 1,087, mean age = 14.3 years), and smokeless tobacco use in 2010–11 (mean age = 16.7 years). Participants provided a saliva sample that was genotyped for genes in the dopamine, serotonin and opioid pathways.
Overall 62 (5.7 %) participants reported lifetime STU. We identified five single nucleotide polymorphisms that increased the risk for lifetime use. Specifically, rs2023902 on SERGEF (OR = 1.93; 95 % CI: 1.05-3.53), rs16941667 on ALDH2 (OR = 3.14; 95 % CI: 1.65-5.94), and rs17721739 on TPH1 (OR = 1.71; 95 % CI: 1.00-2.91) in the dopamine pathway, rs514912 on TRH-DE (OR = 1.84; 95 % CI: 1.25-2.71) in the serotonin pathway, and rs42451417 on the serotonin transporter gene, SLC6A4 (OR = 3.53; 95 % CI: 1.56-7.97). After controlling for genetic risk, being male (OR = 1.86; 95 % CI: 1.02-3.41), obesity status (OR = 2.22; 95 % CI: 1.21-4.09), and both higher levels of anxiety (OR = 1.04; 95 % CI: 1.01-1.08) and social disinhibition (OR = 1.26; 95 % CI: 1.07-1.48) were associated with increased use. High subjective social status (OR = 0.78; 95 % CI: 0.64-0.93) was protective against use, while higher parental education (OR = 2.01; 95 % CI: 1.03-3.93) was associated with increased use.
These data suggest that use of genetic risk, along with psychosocial, demographic, and behavioral risk factors may increase our ability to identify youth at increased risk for STU, which in turn may improve our ability to effectively target prevention messages to Mexican heritage youth.