Second-hand smoke exposure levels and tobacco consumption patterns among a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Ireland

Public Health. 2013 May;127(5):467-72. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2013.01.021. Epub 2013 Apr 21.


Objectives: To estimate and identify characteristics of tobacco use, including use of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes and second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure, among a self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Ireland.

Study design: Web-based self-administered questionnaire survey using a cross-sectional study design.

Methods: A convenience sample of 661 self-identified LGBT respondents was recruited through a well-advertised web-based survey tool method between March and May 2012. Prevalence rates were adjusted for age, sexual orientation, social class and nationality. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to characterize tobacco use profile and SHS exposure levels for estimating adjusted odds ratios (AOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: Of the 661 respondents, 45.3% (95% CI 44.9-45.7) reported current use of tobacco and 15.6% reported current use of RYO cigarettes (results were significantly higher for lesbians in both categories). In addition, 40.3% (95% CI 39.9-40.6) of respondents reported SHS exposure at home (significantly higher in gays), and 50.1% (95% CI 49.3-50.8) reported SHS exposure in cars (significantly higher in lesbians); these two groups were not mutually exclusive. The oldest individuals and non-Irish nationals were more than twice as likely to report SHS exposure in cars compared with the youngest individuals and Irish nationals, and the least-educated individuals were more than twice as likely to report current use of RYO cigarettes compared with the most-educated individuals (AOR 2.26; 95% CI 1.06-4.79). Non-tobacco users were less likely to report SHS exposure at home compared with current tobacco users (AOR 0.31; 95% CI 0.21-0.46).

Discussion: Despite inherent methodological limitations associated with identification of such a study sample, the adjusted rates indicate that tobacco use is very high among the LGBT community in Ireland compared with the general Irish population (smoking rate 29%). High levels of SHS exposure at home and in cars further underscore the significance of smoke-free private vehicle and 100% smoke-free home policies. A targeted tobacco control strategy should be explored for this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution