Elevated risk for tobacco use among men who have sex with men is mediated by demographic and psychosocial variables

Subst Use Misuse. 2006;41(8):1197-208. doi: 10.1080/10826080500514503.


Men who have sex with men (MSM) may be more likely to smoke than general population men. Such population comparisons typically do not control for demographic differences and have not tested reasons for MSMs' greater tobacco use. We compared MSM with general population men in data that allowed us to control demographic differences, and hypothesized that MSM would report more tobacco use, due to elevated levels of three psychosocial variables that generally predict tobacco use: depression symptoms, alcohol use, and limited health access. Data were from a 2001 survey of MSM in Chicago (n = 817) and from the 2001 National Health Interview Study (n = 7,783). Significantly more MSM used tobacco, particularly younger MSM. Depression symptoms, alcohol use, and limited health access were more common among MSM and partially accounted for their elevated smoking risk. The lower health access and greater vulnerability of MSM to depression and alcohol use contributed to their higher smoking rate and must be considered in further smoking research and prevention. Younger MSM show very high rates of smoking and are a particular intervention target. Limitations of this cross-sectional study are noted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*