Sexual Orientation and Tobacco Use in a Cohort Study of US Adolescent Girls and Boys

S. Bryn Austin, Najat Ziyadeh, Laurie B. Fisher, Jessica A. Kahn, Graham A. Colditz, A. Lindsay Frazier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine sexual-orientation group disparities in tobacco use in adolescent girls and boys. Design: Survey data from 10685 adolescent girls and boys participating in 1999 in the Growing Up Today Study were examined cross-sectionally. Setting: Community-based population of adolescents living throughout the United States. Main Outcome Measure: Prevalence of tobacco use. Results: Ninety-two percent of the participants described themselves as heterosexual (n=9296), 5% as mostly heterosexual (n=511), 1% as lesbian/gay/bisexual (n=103), and 2% as unsure (n=226). Ages ranged from 12 to 17 years. Compared with heterosexuals, mostly heterosexual girls were 2.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.8-3.5), lesbian/bisexual girls were 9.7 (95% confidence interval, 5.1-18.4), and mostly heterosexual boys were 2.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-4.6) times more likely to smoke at least weekly. In contrast, gay/bisexual boys were not more likely to smoke. Findings persisted even when controlling for multiple sociodemographic and psychosocial covariates. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that mostly heterosexual adolescents of both sexes and lesbian/bisexual girls are at heightened risk for tobacco use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


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