Background: Current research suggests that tobacco use is considerably high among the American LGBTQ population. The purpose of this study is to assess the LGBTQ community’s knowledge and perceptions regarding tobacco and health as well as their attitudes on the adoption of ordinances to prohibit or restrict the sale and distribution of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and electronic smoking devices (ESDs) as well as restrict the redemption of coupons, rebates and other tobacco promotional approaches in Los Angeles County.
Method: A public intercept survey was conducted during events with large LGBTQ attendance such as Pride festivals within Los Angeles County. The survey instrument consisted of a total of eleven (11) questions: four (4) knowledge questions related to tobacco and health; six (6) attitude/belief questions related to their perceptions about policies that ban or restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products including menthol and other Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) as well as restricting the distribution and redemption of coupons, rebates, gift cards and other offers, and one (1) behavior question related to smoking behavior. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis.
Results: A convenience sample of 464 participants fully completed the survey. Results showed differences in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors on smoking and health among the LGBTQ population in LA County by gender, sexual orientation and age. Results also showed lack of knowledge among the LGBTQ population, and lack of support for tobacco policies that restrict the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products. Furthermore, the LGBTQ population was significantly more likely to be current smokers compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Conclusion: The findings suggest that efforts to reduce flavored tobacco use may have the potential to reduce tobacco use and tobacco diseases and death among LGBTQ populations particularly when interventions are tailored to specific age and gender groups. Targeted efforts to educate the LGBTQ population about the positive impact of implementing policies driven systems change interventions that focus on flavored tobacco are imperative. Finally, more research is needed that investigate the psychological, social and cultural factors underlying LGBTQ smoking behavior.