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J Adolesc Health. 2018 Nov 30. pii: S1054-139X(18)30437-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.09.022. [Epub ahead of print]

Exploring Identities and Preferences for Intervention Among LGBTQ+ Young Adult Smokers Through Online Focus Groups.

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Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco, California. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco, California.
Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
Department of General Internal Medicine, Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco, California.



LGBTQ+ young adults are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and associated health conditions. A culturally tailored intervention may improve smoking cessation with this priority population. We conducted focus groups to inform development of a social media intervention to help LGBTQ+ young adults quit smoking.


We conducted two focus groups with LGBTQ+ young adults (N = 27) throughout the United States in a Facebook secret group online setting. An online survey characterized tobacco and other substance use. Questions posed to focus group participants addressed patterns and contexts of smoking, LGBTQ+ identity, and barriers and facilitators to participating in a culturally tailored smoking cessation intervention on social media. Focus group transcripts were coded and analyzed using directed content analysis.


Overall, young adults had mixed feelings about linking the identities of LGBTQ+ and smoking, and reflected differences in online and "real life" identities. Participants were generally receptive to a social media smoking cessation intervention with concerns about privacy in sharing their smoking status and LGBTQ+ identities with their online social networks. Gender nonconforming individuals had some unique concerns about Facebook policies.


This study highlights important considerations in tailoring a social media intervention for LGBTQ+ young adults. We identified experiences of LGBTQ+ young adults that would support tailoring to a diverse community, and suggestions for how to make smoking cessation programs more appealing to this priority population.


Cessation; Focus groups; Gender minority; Intervention; LGBTQ+; Prevention; Sexual minority; Social media; Tobacco; Youth and young adults

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