Tobacco-Free Policies and Tobacco Cessation Systems at Health Centers Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Clients

LGBT Health. 2018 May/Jun;5(4):264-269. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2017.0208. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Purpose: LGBT populations have high rates of tobacco use. Health centers serving LGBT clients are an important source of care. The researchers aimed to assess the implementation of recommended systems-level tobacco cessation interventions at these health centers.

Methods: Using systematic searching, directories, and expert review, we identified health centers serving LGBT clients that provide primary care. We conducted phone-based, semi-structured interviews with administrators (n = 11) between September 2016 and March 2017 regarding implementation of the Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update (the Guideline). Two authors confirmed saturation and two authors conducted thematic coding.

Results: Eight themes were identified, including clear evidence of systems-level procedures for asking about, advising on, and assessing tobacco use. Interviewees viewed tobacco use as important given existing disparities. However, there was room for improvement in the following areas: (1) Education for staff on tobacco cessation was ad hoc and not formalized; (2) materials and resources for tobacco cessation available in the center varied widely and changed when a staff champion arrived or left; (3) no point person was assigned to coordinate tobacco cessation efforts; and, (4) assessment of tobacco use as a vital sign is not consistent-some centers met meaningful use quality metrics (e.g., once or more in the past 24 months) instead of the Guideline recommendation (every visit). Addressing tobacco use competes with addressing other health risk behaviors.

Conclusions: Administrators at health centers serving LGBT clients viewed tobacco use as an important issue. However, there was room for improvement in implementation of systems recommended in the Guideline. Targeted outreach is warranted to improve standardization of implementation and promote cessation of tobacco use.

Keywords: LGBT; gay; lesbian; sexual minorities; transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Facility Administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoke-Free Policy*
  • Tobacco Use / prevention & control*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation*