Trends in sexual orientation disparities in cigarette smoking: Intersections between race/ethnicity and sex

Jessica L. King, Lingpeng Shan, Sunday Azagba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking is disproportionately high among sexual minority populations, but it is unclear whether these disparities exist among race/ethnicity subgroups. This study examined trends in sexual orientation disparities in cigarette smoking by race/ethnicity. Data are from the 2014–2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (N = 1,194,768). Trend analyses compared cigarette smoking by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, non-Hispanic other) and sexual orientation (straight, lesbian or gay, bisexual, something else/don't know/refused). Multivariable analyses examined associations between sexual orientation and cigarette use for each race/ethnicity, controlling for other sociodemographic characteristics. Between 2014 and 2019, lesbian or gay, and bisexual populations consistently had higher smoking rates than straight populations, which held across race/ethnicity. Among non-Hispanic White adults, lesbians (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.29, 1.76), bisexual females (OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.39, 1.75), gay (OR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.22, 1.55), and bisexual males (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.04, 1.43) had higher odds of smoking compared those self-identifying as straight. Among non-Hispanic Black adults, lesbians (OR = 1.90, 95% CI =1.33, 2.73) and bisexual females (OR = 1.85, 95% CI =1.42, 2.41) were more likely to currently smoke. Among Hispanic adults, those self-identifying as lesbian or gay (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.19, 2.09) or bisexual (OR = 2.40, 95% CI = 1.88, 3.07) were more likely to currently smoke, though the associations were not significant in Hispanic males. Disparities in cigarette smoking by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation suggest that aggregating these groups mask important differences and limit efforts to target those most at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106760
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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