News | Government Study on Same Sex & Tobacco

According to a report the federal government is spending over $33,000 to determine if safe-sex couples live closer to tobacco retailers, and if this makes them more likely to smoke.

The government study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) called “Relationship Between Tobacco Retailer Density and Sexual Minority Couples,” argues that since many gay and lesbian couples live in cities they may be near stores that sell tobacco they are more likely to smoke.

According the grant, “Tobacco use is substantially higher among sexual minorities than among heterosexuals. Same-sex couples’ movement within the U.S. results in same-sex couples concentrating in more urban neighborhoods where there may be more tobacco retailers. Living near a tobacco retailer has been associated with decreased success in quitting tobacco. The presence or absence of overlapping patterns of same-sex couples and tobacco retailers have not been explored.

The study is using a high quality list of 100,000 tobacco retailers from 97 U.S. counties and cross checking with recent census data to determine if same-sex couples live nearby.

The grant goes on to say, “Sexual minorities are more likely to use tobacco products than heterosexuals. The reasons for this disparity are unknown; however, where people live and their proximity to tobacco retailers can influence decisions to quit smoking.

The study is being led by graduate student, Joseph Lee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As part of his study Lee has surveyed gays, bisexual and lesbians at bars in West Virginia.

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a better way for the government to spend my tax dollars!