Although sociologists, demographers, and others have thoroughly studied contextual and life course influences on tobacco and alcohol use in adolescence and young adulthood, far less attention has been paid to the determinants of tobacco and alcohol co-use. This is important to remedy because co-use has a nonadditive effect on long-term health. In this article, we use nationally representative, longitudinal data from adolescents and young adults to examine patterns of joint tobacco and alcohol use behaviors across the life course. Importantly, we describe how these trajectories are linked to respondents high schools joint profile of tobacco and alcohol use, measured two ways: as the proportion of tobacco and alcohol co-users, and as the "excess proportion" above that expected based on the marginal probabilities of smoking and drinking in that school. Joint tobacco and alcohol use is associated with both measures, emphasizing the "long arm" of adolescent contexts. Furthermore, we extend previous research to assess whether there is a gene-environment interaction between this school-level measure, 5HTTLPR, and tobacco and alcohol co-use, as suggested by recent work analyzing drinking and smoking separately. We find evidence of such a pattern but conclude that it is likely to be due to population stratification or other forms of confounding.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics