Sexual Identity Disparities in Smoking and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in California: 2003-2013

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To determine smoking prevalence, smoking behavior, and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)-identified Californians; compare these with that of heterosexuals; and analyze changes over time.


We analyzed self-reported variables from 111 965 heterosexual, 1667 lesbian, and 1706 bisexual women, and 79 881 heterosexual, 2505 gay, and 911 bisexual men, aged 18 to 70 years, in the 2003-2013 California Health Interview Surveys.


Sexual minority women had higher smoking prevalence, and female bisexual smokers were less likely to be light smokers, than heterosexuals. Smoking prevalence was higher among sexual minority men, and gay smokers were more likely to be daily smokers than were heterosexuals; and male bisexual smokers were more likely to be light smokers than were gay or heterosexual smokers. Sexual minority adults were more likely to have SHS exposure at home than were heterosexuals. Current smoking prevalence decreased annually 4% and 7% for lesbian and bisexual women, and 5% and 6% for gay and bisexual men, respectively. Exposure to SHS fell an average of 11% annually for sexual minority men and women.


Sexual identity disparities in smoking and SHS exposure exist in California, with bisexuals particularly at risk.

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