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LGBT teens are ‘far more likely’ to smoke or vape than straight teens

LGBT teens are ‘far more likely’ to smoke or vape than straight teens

Someone smoking a cigarette

According to a new report out of Ohio, almost double the amount of gay, lesbian, or bisexual teens smoke traditional and e-cigarettes than their straight and questioning peers.

The information comes out of the state’s Health Department and the Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey Data.

They conducted the survey during the 2016-17 school year. Some of the questions included whether or not students smoked or vaped in the last 30 days.

Researchers further broke down the data by gender and sexuality.

What do the numbers say?

On the basis of sexuality, gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens’ rate of smoking in the last 30 days is nearly double their peers.

Smoking rates via sexuality
Smoking rates via sexuality | Photo: Ohio Department of Health

Nearly 20% of LGB teens have vaped in the last 30 days and 17.5% have smoked.

For straight teens, a little over 6% have smoked and 10% have vaped.

For gender, the discrepancy is also present.

Smoking rates via gender
Smoking rates via gender | Photo: Ohio Department of Health

A little over 25% of trans or gender nonconforming teens have vaped in the last 30 days and almost 20% reported having smoked.

For cis male and female teens, the results are halved or more.

Why is it happening at such a higher rate?

Jackson Siegel, a youth program coordinator for the LGTB Community Center of Greater Cleveland, described smoking as a coping mechanism.

It’s a way for these teens to deal with stress, anxiety, and more. Risky behaviors can come with trying to belong.

Further, the American Cancer Society says most smokers start as teens and the younger someone starts, the more likely addiction becomes.

While beginning to smoke can trace its roots to dealing with stress or peer pressure, quitting can be equally hard. Withdrawal symptoms can include depression and anxiety — the exact things these teens are trying to escape.

Other reports have shown the struggles LGBTI teens face, such as a rise in bullying in school, both in the US and elsewhere. This can explain why only 1 in 4 teens feel safe in school in the US.

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