The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Lawrence O. Bryant; Respiratory Care, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Background: Data on cigarette smoking prevalence among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) populations in the United States have recently been reported by a small number of sources. The American Lung Association recently created a comprehensive report to assist researchers, providing a variety of historical and statistical data. LGBT smoking rates are disproportionally higher than the general population. Recent smoking rates range from 38% to 59% among LGBT youth and from 11% to 50% among adults, while the national smoking rates range from 28% to 35% for youth and approximately 28% for adults. Smoking rates among Lesbians are reported to be up to 200% higher than straight women. This study sought to answer the question: What are the primary factors that lead to high smoking rates among LGBT Atlantans? Methods: Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Four focus groups were conducted with former smokers, nonsmokers, and current smokers to determine tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, and reasons LGBT community members initiate and continue tobacco use. Survey data was collected from 685 individuals at six different local events. Thematic analysis was utilized to analyze focus groups, while descriptive statistics were utilized to analyze survey data. Results: There was a lack of awareness among focus group and survey participants that smoking rates within the LGBT community are higher than the general population. Focus group participants cited peer influences as reasons they initiated and continue to smoke, noting that the LGBT community is more tolerant of smoking than mainstream society. Additionally, the strategy of offering LGBT specific cessation programs was highly supported among current and Ex-Smokers. Survey respondents did not rate tobacco as a high priority health issue for the LGBT community. Conclusions: Findings from this study clearly shows that tobacco use is a serious issue for the LGBT community. While community members are familiar with the harmful consequences of tobacco use and second-hand smoke, they are generally not aware that they are disproportionately affected by it. Project activities identified a number of innovative strategies that can be effective in increasing awareness, reducing tobacco use, and encouraging other behaviors that will reduce chronic disease and promote overall wellness within the LGBT community.
Sponsored Research - None
Demographics of Focus Group Participants