Factors Associated with Cigarette Use during Airmen's First Year of Service in the United States Air Force

Melissa Little, Jon O. Ebbert, Rebecca A. Krukowski, Jennifer Halbert, Maj Ryan Kalpinski, Christi A. Patten, Gerald W. Talcott, Robert C. Klesges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite declines of cigarette use in the civilian population, military personnel report alarmingly high rates of cigarette use. Enlisted Air Force recruits are required to remain tobacco-free for the first 12 weeks of training, and the majority express confidence they will not use tobacco after the ban; however, most previous smokers return to smoking and many nonsmokers initiate. Understanding the factors associated with cigarette-smoking initiation among non-users and re-initiation among former users is critical for the development of successful tobacco control efforts. Materials and Methods: The current study examines predictors of cigarette smoking among a sample of 2,188 USAF personnel after their first year of service. Logistic regression analyses examined associations between baseline predictors and initiation and re-initiation of cigarette smoking at a one-year follow-up. Results: Compared to never smokers at both time points, the strongest predictor of smoking initiation over the past 12 months was having owned cigarette-branded merchandise (OR 3.81, 95% CI 1.67, 8.71). Compared to former smokers who remained abstinent, the strongest predictor of re-initiation was intention to use tobacco (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.53, 2.83). Compared to individuals who initiate, the strongest predictors of re-initiation were prior use of other tobacco products and tobacco use intentions (ORs range 1.85 to 4.63). Conclusions: Multiple risk factors are associated with tobacco use. Given that Airmen are tobacco-free for the first 12 weeks of training, tobacco interventions during this period might be more effective. Our findings can be used to tailor interventions to prevent tobacco use in the U.S. military.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E212-E220
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 12 2020


  • Military Personnel
  • Prevention
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco Use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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