Perspectives on Cigarette Use, Vaping, and Antitobacco Campaigns Among Adolescent Sexual Minority Males and Gender Diverse Youth

Junye Ma*, Ashley J. Kraus, Christopher Owens, David A. Moskowitz, Jeremy Birnholtz, Kathryn Macapagal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: This qualitative study examined perceived benefits and drawbacks of smoking/vaping and attitudes toward antitobacco campaigns among adolescent sexual minority males and gender-diverse (ASMM/GD) youth. Methods: In July 2019, 215 U.S. ASMM/GD youth (meanage 16.78, 95.3% cisgender male, 60.0% racial/ethnic minority) answered questions about smoking/vaping behaviors, motivations for smoking/vaping, and attitudes toward antitobacco campaigns via an online survey. Data were analyzed with thematic analysis. Results: Overall, 17.2% of participants had smoked cigarettes, and 34.9% had vaped. Teens described psychological (e.g., stress relief), chemical (e.g., nicotine buzz), and social incentives (e.g., fitting in with peers) for smoking/vaping. Teens also reported concerns about physical health, costs, and self-image as drawbacks of smoking/vaping. Most considered antitobacco campaigns unrelatable and uninteresting, while others reported that campaigns reinforced their decisions to not smoke/vape. Most participants wanted antitobacco campaigns to be tailored to the sexual and gender minority (SGM) community. Conclusions: These findings shed light on ASMM/GD youth's perspectives of smoking/vaping and antitobacco campaigns. Results suggest that equipping teens with skills to cope with minority stress and resisting peer pressure could indirectly reduce smoking/vaping, and that SGM-inclusive campaigns may better reach SGM adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-488
Number of pages10
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • adolescent
  • antitobacco campaigns
  • sexual and gender minority
  • smoking
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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