Sexual orientation and tobacco use in a cohort study of US adolescent girls and boys

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Apr;158(4):317-22. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.158.4.317.


Objective: To examine sexual-orientation group disparities in tobacco use in adolescent girls and boys.

Design: Survey data from 10685 adolescent girls and boys participating in 1999 in the Growing Up Today Study were examined cross-sectionally.

Setting: Community-based population of adolescents living throughout the United States. Main Outcome Measure Prevalence of tobacco use.

Results: Ninety-two percent of the participants described themselves as heterosexual (n = 9296), 5% as mostly heterosexual (n = 511), 1% as lesbian/gay/bisexual (n = 103), and 2% as unsure (n = 226). Ages ranged from 12 to 17 years. Compared with heterosexuals, mostly heterosexual girls were 2.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.8-3.5), lesbian/bisexual girls were 9.7 (95% confidence interval, 5.1-18.4), and mostly heterosexual boys were 2.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-4.6) times more likely to smoke at least weekly. In contrast, gay/bisexual boys were not more likely to smoke. Findings persisted even when controlling for multiple sociodemographic and psychosocial covariates.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that mostly heterosexual adolescents of both sexes and lesbian/bisexual girls are at heightened risk for tobacco use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology