Exploring Identities and Preferences for Intervention Among LGBTQ+ Young Adult Smokers Through Online Focus Groups

J Adolesc Health. 2019 Mar;64(3):390-397. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.09.022. Epub 2018 Nov 30.


Purpose: LGBTQ+ young adults are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and associated health conditions. A culturally tailored intervention may improve smoking cessation with this priority population. We conducted focus groups to inform development of a social media intervention to help LGBTQ+ young adults quit smoking.

Methods: We conducted two focus groups with LGBTQ+ young adults (N = 27) throughout the United States in a Facebook secret group online setting. An online survey characterized tobacco and other substance use. Questions posed to focus group participants addressed patterns and contexts of smoking, LGBTQ+ identity, and barriers and facilitators to participating in a culturally tailored smoking cessation intervention on social media. Focus group transcripts were coded and analyzed using directed content analysis.

Results: Overall, young adults had mixed feelings about linking the identities of LGBTQ+ and smoking, and reflected differences in online and "real life" identities. Participants were generally receptive to a social media smoking cessation intervention with concerns about privacy in sharing their smoking status and LGBTQ+ identities with their online social networks. Gender nonconforming individuals had some unique concerns about Facebook policies.

Conclusions: This study highlights important considerations in tailoring a social media intervention for LGBTQ+ young adults. We identified experiences of LGBTQ+ young adults that would support tailoring to a diverse community, and suggestions for how to make smoking cessation programs more appealing to this priority population.

Keywords: Cessation; Focus groups; Gender minority; Intervention; LGBTQ+; Prevention; Sexual minority; Social media; Tobacco; Youth and young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smokers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult