Smoking characteristics among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults

Prev Med. 2015 May;74:123-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.11.026. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Objective: Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Sexual minorities (lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals), smoke at higher rates than the general population. However, little else is known about sexual minority smokers. Furthermore, the sexual minority population is diverse and little research exists to determine whether subgroups, such as lesbians, gay men, and female and male bisexuals, differ on smoker characteristics. We examine differences in smoking characteristics (advertising receptivity, age of first cigarette, non-daily smoking, cigarettes per day, nicotine dependence, desire to quit and past quit attempts) among lesbians, gay men, and female and male bisexual adults in the United States.

Methods: Secondary analysis of the CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey (N=118,590).

Results: Controlling for age, race, socioeconomic status and geographic region, identifying as a female bisexual was associated with fewer past quit attempts, lower age at first cigarette, and higher nicotine dependence when compared to heterosexual women. There were no differences in desire to quit between male or female sexual minorities and their heterosexual counterparts.

Conclusion: Sexual minority individuals smoke at higher rates than heterosexuals and yet similarly desire to quit. Tailored efforts may be needed to address smoking among bisexual women.

Keywords: LGBT; Smoking; Tobacco control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Age of Onset
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marketing / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Industry / economics
  • Tobacco Industry / methods*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult