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Research Article Research Article

Financial dependence correlated with different smoking rates among Millennials

Despite steady declines in U.S. tobacco use since the 1960s, tobacco use remains high among young adults, with more than one-third of 18-34 year-olds reporting past-month use of any tobacco product. Current young adults are of the Millennial Generation, born between 1977 and 1994. Although the largest influence on Millennials’ experiences as young adults so far has been the Great Recession, little research has been published on the impact of the Recession on American health. 

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between financial dependence on parents and young adult tobacco use. Cross-sectional data from 4,195 participants from the Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort Study were analyzed. Multinomial and binary logistic regressions were used to model financial independence as a predictor of tobacco use and frequency of use.

Financially dependent participants had higher odds of being current tobacco users compared to financially independent young adults.

The results show that most participants were financially independent and current or previous tobacco users. Income, education, and employment interacted with financial dependence to predict tobacco use. Greater financial dependence on parents was associated with increased current and decreased previous tobacco use among young adults.

Key takeaways


Young adults who were very financially dependent on their parents and working part-time had over 7 times greater odds of current tobacco use than financially independent young adults also working part-time.


Financially dependent young adults who did not complete high school had 80% lower odds of previous tobacco use than financially independent young adults with the same education level.


Financially dependent young adults working at least 35 hours a week had 63% lower odds of previous tobacco use than financially independent young adults with similar work hours.



Compared to financially independent young adults earning less than $25,000 annually, young adults who were somewhat financially dependent with similar incomes had 6.66 times greater odds of being a current tobacco user.