Stigma & Tobacco Control in LGBTQ Communities
In spite of California’s comprehensive tobacco control program which is credited for significantly reducing the prevalence of smoking in the general state population, smoking prevalence remains high among sexual and gender minorities (LGBT) in the state. Women and men from these communities are 3 and 1.5 times, respectively, more likely to smoke compared to women and men in the general state population. These alarming disparities in smoking risk for sexual and gender minorities suggests that denormalization strategies may not affect all populations equally. Research on stigma suggests that public health policies which purposefully use stigma to change behavior may have negative consequences for groups who are already stigmatized in society by virtue of some other characteristic, like their sexual and/or gender identity. In spite of this theoretical claim, research has not yet considered the intersections of tobacco stigma and sexual and gender identity stigmas to understand whether or to what extent tobacco denormalization may result in negative consequences for sexual and gender minorities. This qualitative study considers the potential unintended consequences of tobacco denormalization strategies for sexual and gender minorities by examining the processes of stigmatization as they relate to tobacco denormalization, tobacco use, and sexual and gender minority identities. This project has important implications for understanding both the effectiveness as well as limitations of tobacco denormalization strategies for sexual and gender minorities and identifying those tobacco prevention, treatment, and public health policies that work to ameliorate health inequities.
Research reported on this website was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01CA190238. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.