Cigarette Smoking and Minority Stress across Age Cohorts in a National Sample of Sexual Minorities: Results from the Generations Study

Allegra R. Gordon, Jessica N. Fish, Wouter J. Kiekens, Marguerita Lightfoot, David M. Frost, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background Sexual minority populations in the United States have persistently higher rates of cigarette use than heterosexuals, partially driven by exposure to minority stressors (e.g., discrimination and victimization). Little is known about cigarette use across cohorts of sexual minority adults who came of age in distinctly different sociopolitical environments. Purpose To examine cigarette use and minority stressors across three age cohorts of U.S. sexual minority adults. Methods We used data from the Generations Study, a nationally representative sample (N = 1,500) of White, Black, and Latino/a sexual minority adults in three age cohorts (younger: 18–25 years; middle: 34–41 years; and older: 52–59 years). Survey data were collected from March 2016 to March 2017. We used sex-stratified logistic regression models to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between age cohort, minority stressors (discrimination and victimization), and two indicators of cigarette smoking (lifetime use and current use). Results Prevalence of current cigarette use in each age cohort was high (younger: 20%; middle: 33%; and older: 29%). Relative to the younger cohort, men and women in the middle- and older-age cohorts had significantly higher odds of lifetime and current smoking (e.g., men, current, aOR [95% CI]: middle = 2.47 [1.34, 4.52], older = 2.85 [1.66, 4.93]). Minority stressors were independently associated with higher odds of current smoking; when victimization was included, the magnitude of the association between age cohort and current smoking was diminished but remained significant. Conclusions Smoking cessation interventions must consider the role of minority stress and the unique needs of sexual minority people across the life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-542
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Cigarette use
  • LGB
  • Minority stress
  • Sexual minority
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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