Lesbian and bisexual girls were more likely to report use of
tobacco products than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a study of
data collected in the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The study,
“Tobacco Product Use Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents
,” will be
published in the April 2017 issue of Pediatrics (published online March
27). Of 14,703 teenagers who responded to the survey, 88.8 percent were
heterosexual or straight; 2 percent were lesbian or gay; 6 percent bisexual;
and 3.2 percent were unsure about their sexual identity. Evidence suggests that
sexual minority adults smoke at substantially higher rates than their
heterosexual counterparts, but less has been known about youth, according to
the author. The study found that, overall, lesbian and gay adolescents reported
the highest rate of current use of any tobacco product (40.5 percent); followed
by bisexual teens (38.5 percent); and unsure teens (32.2 percent; as compared
to their straight peers, (29.6 percent). The author suggests that the
association between sexual orientation and tobacco use could be due to social
stigma, social isolation, family rejection, discrimination and emotional abuse.
She suggests that public health agencies develop tobacco prevention and
intervention strategies that are tailored to LGBT youth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org
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