the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity

Smoking

Research suggests that LGB people are more likely to smoke than heterosexual people, and lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to smoke (and are likely to smoke more) than heterosexual people, or gay men.

The exact reasons for this difference have yet to be identified, yet it is likely that (like alcohol consumption) social pressures to smoke are likely to be prevalent amongst the LGB community. Gay women are also less likely to get pregnant (a trigger point for giving up smoking) and are more likely to continue to go out to pubs and clubs on a regular basis for more years than their heterosexual counterparts.

Like alcohol, one of the problems with smoking and stopping smoking is that the preventative health care messages are not targeted at LGB people. For example, stop smoking campaigns state that “smoking makes you unattractive to the opposite sex”. This does not communicate with LGB people. Messages on cigarette packages only make a reference to female sexuality in relation to pregnancy. This means that LGB people are less likely to be receptive about anti-smoking messages.

Evidence

  • Sexual Orientation and Women's Smoking T Hughes, K Jacobson (2003)
  • Sexual Orientation and Tobacco Use in a Cohort Study of US Adolescent Girls and Boys S Austin, N Ziyadeh, L Fisher,Kahn, J, Colditz, G, Frazier, L (2004)
  • Smoking Cessation for Gay Men  J Bensley (2002)
  • High Tobacco Use Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth: Mounting Evidence About a Hidden Population's Health Risk Behaviour A D'Augelli (2004)
  • Smoking behaviour in a low-income multiethnic HIV/AIDS population E Gritz, D Vidrine, A Lazev,Amick, B, Arduino, R (2004)

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