A double disparity: Rural sexual minorities and tobacco use among U.S. adults

Sunday Azagba, Todd Ebling, Lingpeng Shan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Marginalized groups continue to face an uneven distribution of the risks and consequences of smoking cigarettes, with rural/urban geography and sexual orientation status examined independently. However, little is known about the intersection of rural/urban geography and sexual orientation regarding tobacco use disparities. This study examined rural–urban sexual minority differences in tobacco use in the United States. Methods: Data came from the 2018–2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey System (N = 675,221). We estimated cigarette smoking prevalence for each year of survey data by rural/urban status and sexual orientation. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to assess associations of rural/urban location and sexual orientation status with cigarette use. Additional Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted, including stratified analyses by sex on multiple sexual orientation categories. Findings: Cigarette smoking was higher among participants who lived in rural areas and identified as lesbian or gay and bisexual. Furthermore, the disparities in smoking rates were significantly different, with 38 % higher odds of smoking among rural sexual minorities than urban sexual minorities (aOR = 1.38, 95 % CI = 1.19, 1.60). Stronger odds of cigarette smoking were found among rural gays or lesbians (aOR = 1.83, 95 % CI = 1.47, 2.28) and rural bisexuals (aOR = 2.40, 95 % CI = 2.03, 2.84) compared to urban straight counterparts. Conclusion: Findings highlight rural populations, particularly sexual minorities, might have an elevated risk of cigarette use. Prevention and cessation efforts that help these especially disadvantaged groups will be beneficial in addressing tobacco use disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107527
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'A double disparity: Rural sexual minorities and tobacco use among U.S. adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this