Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study Series

The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study is a collaboration between the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was launched in 2011 to inform FDA's regulatory activities under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The PATH Study is an ongoing longitudinal cohort study on tobacco use behavior, attitudes and beliefs, and tobacco-related health outcomes. Data collection is planned through 2024.

The PATH Study collects data from adults and youth. Parents are also interviewed and their responses are appended to their youth's record in the Youth dataset. For the baseline wave (Wave 1) the study sampled over 150,000 mailing addresses across the United States to create the national sample of tobacco users and non-users. The first wave of data collection included responses from over 32,000 adults and 13,000 youth. The number of cases will vary from wave to wave due to a variety of factors. Each adult interview respondent who completed the Wave 1 interview was asked to provide up to three biospecimens: urine, blood, and buccal cells. Buccal cells were collected for a limited time.

Questionnaire Restricted-Use Files (RUF), Biomarker Restricted-Use Files (BRUF), and Questionnaire Public-Use Files (PUF) are available. Access to the RUF and BRUF is restricted and requires an application process, whereas access to the PUF is not restricted. Although the PUF includes extensive data from the adult, youth, and parent interviews, data in the PUF is not as comprehensive as in the RUF. Because access to the PUF is unrestricted, additional measures have been taken to further preserve subject confidentiality. Some response categories have been collapsed in the PUF and certain questionnaire variables have been excluded. The User Guide and Questionnaires for the PUF contain tables listing the variables excluded entirely or recoded from what is available in the RUF. After reviewing the PUF, researchers may determine that the RUF has the specific data needed for their research purposes. In this case, researchers are encouraged to apply for access to the RUF using the link to the online request system in the Access Notes of the RUF description.

Researchers interested in accessing PATH Study biospecimens for biospecimen research should refer to the PATH Study Biospecimen Access Program page. This page provides instructions on applying for access, the schedule for reviewing applications, and frequently asked questions about the program.

PATH Study Data Tables and Figures are available for public use. They feature a series of cross-sectional and longitudinal tables and figures providing national estimates on tobacco use and transitions between tobacco products among youth (aged 12-17), young adults (aged 18-24), and adults (aged 25+).

Questions about the collection, content, weighting, documentation, or structure of PATH Study data may be submitted to the new Westat email: PATHDataUserQuestions@Westat.com. NOTE: This email address is not for questions about statistical analysis or analytic guidance. For analytic questions, researchers may wish to consult with statisticians and analysts at their institutions.

The direct object identifier (DOI) to use to link directly to this PATH Study Series page is https://doi.org/10.3886/Series606.

For Researchers