“I got a little addiction”: Adolescent and young adult cigarillo users’ self-perceptions of addiction

Sarah J. Koopman Gonzalez, Erika S. Trapl, Elizabeth L. Albert, Karen J. Ishler, David N. Cavallo, Rock Lim, Susan A. Flocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: While prior research has informed how cigarette smokers understand and apply the term addiction, little is known about how this term is used by cigarillo smokers. This is an important area of study given the decline in cigarette use and increase in cigar product consumption. Purpose/Objectives: This paper examines how cigarillo smokers self-identify in terms of addiction and the association of this identification with tobacco use, quitting experiences, and level of nicotine dependence. Methods: Transcripts from semi-structured interviews conducted in 2015–2016 with 57 participants (aged 14–28) about cigarillo use and beliefs were analyzed using a phenomenological approach to examine themes around addiction and cessation experiences. Analyses were limited to participants endorsing having a habit. Quantitative analyses were conducted to assess associations with demographics, tobacco use, addiction, cessation, and nicotine dependence for two groups: participants endorsing having an addiction to cigarillos and those who did not. Results: All participants described the term addiction similarly. Participants with an addiction had significantly higher nicotine dependence and self-rating of addiction than those without an addiction. Although most quitting experiences did not differ between the two groups, participants who did not identify as addicted felt that they could quit smoking cigarillos at any time. Conclusions: Variations in identification with addiction are not associated with differences in definitions, use and quit experiences. Understanding self-perceptions of addiction can inform targeted communication to encourage cessation and the use of cessation resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109235
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Addiction
  • Adolescents
  • Cigarillos
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Quitting
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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