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Tobacco use among sexual minorities, USA, 1987-2007 (May): A Systematic Review
  1. Joseph G L Lee1,
  2. Gabriel K Griffin2,
  3. Cathy L Melvin3
  1. 1 Dept of Maternal & Child Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Health, United States;
  2. 2 Duke University School of Medicine, United States;
  3. 3 Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  1. E-mail: jose.lee{at}


Objectives: This paper examines the prevalence of tobacco use among sexual minorities in the United States through a systematic review of literature from 1987 to May 2007.

Methods: Seven databases were searched for peer-reviewed research (CINAHL, Cochrane Library via Wiley InterScience, ERIC, Health Source: Nursing/Academic, ISI Web of Science, PsycINFO via EBSCO Host, and PubMed). No language restrictions were used. Abstracts were identified in the literature search (n=734) and were independently read and coded for inclusion or exclusion by two reviewers. When agreement was not reached, a third reviewer acted as arbitrator. Abstracts were included if they presented data collected in the United States from 1987 to May 2007 and reported prevalence or correlation of tobacco use with sexual minority status. Studies reporting data from HIV-positive samples were excluded. The identified articles (n=46) were independently read by two reviewers, who recorded key outcome measures, including prevalence and/or odds ratios of tobacco use, sample size, and domain of sexuality (identity, behaviour, or desire). Factors relating to study design and methodology were used to assess study quality according to nine criteria.

Results: In the 42 included studies, 119 measures of tobacco prevalence or association were reported. The available evidence points to disparities in smoking among sexual minorities that are significantly higher than among the general population.

Conclusions: Ongoing, targeted interventions addressing smoking among sexual minorities are warranted in tobacco control programs.

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