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J LGBT Health Res. 2008;4(1):27-42. doi: 10.1080/15574090802615703.

Inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in tobacco use-related surveillance and epidemiological research.

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Drexel University School of Public Health, Department of Community Health and Prevention, 1505 Race Street, MS660, 11th Floor, Room 1117, Bellet Bldg., Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.


Researchers and public health advocates have long recognized the importance of demographic characteristics such as sex, race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status in their efforts to understand and control the use of tobacco among population groups. Targeting prevention and cessation efforts based upon such characteristics has consistently been demonstrated to be both efficient and effective. In recent years, attention has modestly turned to how two additional demographic variables, sexual orientation and gender identity, can add to our understanding of how to reduce tobacco use. Research of tobacco industry papers has clearly documented targeted media campaigns to encourage smoking among lesbians and gays in the marketplace. The tobacco industry has long understood the role that sexual orientation can play in the uptake of smoking and the targeted marketing of brands. Those concerned with tobacco use prevention and cessation research have consequently responded to address tobacco use by lesbians and gays, and bisexuals and transgender people as well, but even more can be done. This article reviews what is known about smoking in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations and then reviews recommendations from four panels created to examine this topic. In conclusion, we recommend that sexual orientation and gender identity be considered for inclusion as variables in all major research and epidemiological studies of tobacco use. Just as such studies, without hesitation, measure sex, race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status, they need to also include questions assessing sexual orientation and gender identity. Although these new variables need not be the primary focus of these studies, at a minimum, considering their use as controlling variables should be explored. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people can benefit from being openly included in the work researchers conduct to inform the design of tobacco control programs and policies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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