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Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Jan;13(1):22-8. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntq193. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Prevalence and correlates of tobacco use among a sample of MSM in Shanghai, China.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences & Health Education, Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher smoking rates than the general population in the United States, but less is known about smoking among MSM in developing countries. Thus, we examined the prevalence and correlates of smoking among MSM in China.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of 404 MSM in Shanghai, China (half of whom were male sex workers), recruited through respondent-driven sampling. Assessments included sociodemographics; tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D); the Social Provisions Scale (SPS); and the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS).


Smoking prevalence was 65.9% in this sample. Recent smoking (i.e., in the past 3 months) was significantly associated with lower education, greater alcohol use, and higher LGBIS scores, after controlling for important sociodemographics. Among smokers, smoking ≥10 cigarettes per day (CPD), in comparison with <10 CPD, was related to older age and lower LGBIS scores and marginally related to heavy alcohol use. Although bivariate analyses indicated a relationship of CES-D and SPS scores to recent smoking, these factors did not contribute to the regression models.


Smoking rates among MSM in China are higher than MSM in the United States and men in China. Less comfort with one's sexual orientation was related to smoking, particularly light smoking. Heavier alcohol consumption, lower education, and older age were also associated with smoking. Future research should confirm these findings and examine mediators and moderators of these relationships in order to inform cessation interventions and tobacco control policy.

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