Tobacco Use Prevalence Higher for Sexual Minorities

Among girls, lesbian and bisexual girls more likely to report current use of any tobacco product
Among girls, lesbian and bisexual girls more likely to report current use of any tobacco product

HealthDay News — The prevalence of tobacco use is higher for sexual minorities, with significant differences seen by sex, according to a study published online March 27 in Pediatrics.

Hongying Dai, PhD, from Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, used data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to compare use of various tobacco products according to sex and distinct sexual identities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and unsure). Data were included for 14,703 respondents, including 88.8% heterosexual/straight, 2.0% lesbian or gay, 6.0% bisexual, and 3.2% unsure of their sexual identity. 

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Dai found that the prevalence of tobacco use was higher for sexual minorities versus their heterosexual/straight counterparts. The disparities of tobacco use were significantly affected by sex. The odds of reporting current use of any tobacco product, cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes was higher for lesbian and bisexual girls than for straight girls, while similar smoking behaviors were seen for sexual minority versus straight boys. There was a significant correlation for substance use, including marijuana use, drinking, and binge drinking, with any tobacco use.

"Heterogeneity of tobacco use across distinct sexual identity groups underscores the need to develop evidence-based tobacco control strategies for sexual minority youth," Dai writes.

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