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Sexual and gender minority young adults' smoking characteristics: Assessing differences by sexual orientation and gender identity.


Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults have higher smoking prevalence than their non-SGM peers. Less is known about differences in smoking characteristics within the SGM community.

Participants were SGM young adult smokers age 18-25 (N = 165, M age = 21.8) enrolled in a clinical trial of the Put It Out Project, a Facebook smoking cessation intervention for SGM young adults. Analyses tested differences between 1) sexual orientation groups, and 2) gender identity groups, on the following smoking characteristics: cigarettes/day, daily smoker (yes/no), social smoker (yes/no), years of smoking, number of close friends who smoke (out of 5), age of initiation, age began smoking regularly, time to first cigarette (30 min or less/>30 min), lifetime quit attempts, past-year quit attempts, and stage of change for quitting smoking (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation).

Participants were 56% bi/pansexual, 18% gay, 18% lesbian, 8% other (e.g., asexual, queer). The gender identity of the sample was 52% cisgender, 18% transgender, 30% gender non-binary. Lesbian women began smoking at an older age (M = 18.0, SD = 2.0) than "other" sexual orientation participants (M = 15.7, SD = 2.2), p < .05. Transgender participants smoked the most cigarettes per day (M = 11.3, SD = 6.7), followed by cisgender (M = 8.1, SD = 5.6), then non-binary (M = 5.7, SD = 3.5) participants (p < .001; pairwise comparisons p's < 0.05). No other constructs differed by sexual orientation or gender.

Smoking characteristics were mostly similar across subgroups of young adult SGM smokers; however, transgender individuals were heavier smokers.

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