Research demonstrates that lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (i.e., LGBs or sexual minorities) smoke more than their heterosexual peers, but relatively less is known about the heterogeneity within LGB populations, namely racial/ethnic differences. Moreover, smoking research on sexual minorities has focused mainly on cigarette smoking, with little attention to other forms of smoking, such as hookahs/water pipes.


Using a large national sample of college students, we examined differences by race and sexual orientation in prevalence of smoking cigarettes, cigars/cigarillos/clove cigarettes, and hookahs.


All LGB racial groups had higher cigarette smoking prevalence than their heterosexual racial group counterparts. Significantly more White and Hispanic LGBs smoked hookahs when compared, respectively, with White and Hispanic heterosexuals.


Given the higher prevalence of multiple forms of smoking among sexual minorities, the heterogeneity within sexual minority populations and the nuances of multiple identities (i.e., racial, ethnic, and sexual minority), targeted—if not tailored—prevention and cessation efforts are needed to address smoking disparities in these diverse communities. Prevention, intervention, and epidemiological research on smoking behaviors among college attending young adults should take into account other forms of smoking, such as hookah use.

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