Tobacco use by sexual identity among young adults in the United States

Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Nov;15(11):1822-31. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntt062. Epub 2013 May 16.


Introduction: National surveillance data are needed for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population, a group which has been shown to have unique health needs.

Methods: This study uses data from Legacy's Young Adult Cohort Study, a nationally representative sample collected in the summer of 2011 to examine patterns of tobacco use by sexual identity.

Results: Homosexual and bisexual past 30-day cigarette use (35% and 27%, respectively) was higher than heterosexual past 30-day cigarette use (18%; p = .004). The prevalence of any current tobacco use among heterosexuals was 22% compared with 35% in homosexuals and 31% in bisexuals (p = .04). Prevalence of dual use was 30% among heterosexuals, 43% among homosexuals, and 35% among bisexuals. High school education (OR = 4.27), current alcohol use (OR = 12.64), and current other drug use (OR = 9.67) were significant predictors of current cigarette use among lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents. Strong predictors of other tobacco product use were Black race (OR = 6.95), current alcohol use (OR = 11.70), and current other drug use (OR = 7.42).

Conclusions: Prevalence estimates for tobacco use were higher among young adults who self-identify as sexual minorities compared with those who identify as heterosexuals. Tobacco use is strongly associated with alcohol and other drug use in this population. This study highlights the significant disparities in tobacco use behaviors among sexual minority populations and the critical need to conduct surveillance among these groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology*
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult