A persistent disparity: Smoking in rural sexual and gender minorities

Keisa Bennett, Jane A. Mcelroy, Andrew O. Johnson, Niki Munk, Kevin D. Everett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sexual and gender minorities (SGM) smoke cigarettes at higher rates than the general population. Historically, research in SGM health issues was conducted in urban populations and recent population-based studies seldom have sufficient SGM participants to distinguish urban from rural. Given that rural populations also tend to have a smoking disparity, and that many SGM live in rural areas, it is vitally important to understand the intersection of rural residence, SGM identity, and smoking. This study analyzes the patterns of smoking in urban and rural SGM in a large sample. Methods: We conducted an analysis of 4280 adult participants in the Out, Proud, and Healthy project with complete data on SGM status, smoking status, and zip code. Surveys were conducted at six Missouri pride festivals and online in 2012. Analysis involved descriptive and bivariate methods, and multivariable logistic regression. We used GIS mapping to demonstrate the dispersion of rural SGM participants. Results: SGM had higher smoking proportion than the non-SGM recruited from these settings. In the multivariable model, SGM identity conferred 1.35 times the odds of being a current smoker when controlled for covariates. Rural residence was not independently significant, demonstrating the persistence of the smoking disparity in rural SGM. Mapping revealed widespread distribution of SGM in rural areas. Conclusions: The SGM smoking disparity persists among rural SGM. These communities would benefit from continued research into interventions targeting both SGM and rural tobacco control measures. Recruitment at pride festivals may provide a venue for reaching rural SGM for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015.


  • drug abuse
  • health disparities
  • sexual minorities
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology


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