Changes in social networks are associated with lesbian, bisexual and queer women quitting smoking: an analysis of Australian survey data

28 March 2019

Introduction & Aims: Lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women in Australia and internationally are smoking at least twice the rate of women in the general population. An understanding of smoking behaviours in this population is essential in order to develop effective interventions. Our analysis aimed to investigate differences in smoking patterns and contexts of smoking between current smokers and recent quitters (<2 years to 1 month). Design & Methods: Data were collected through an online anonymous survey conducted in mid-2015. Participants were recruited online from a variety of social networking sites and community based mailing groups. Results: Overall 257 LBQ women completed the survey, 73% current smokers and 27% recent quitters; nearly all had smoked daily at some point in their lives. Multivariate analysis showed recent quitters were less likely to have some (aOR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05-0.71) or half/most/all (aOR 0.12, 95% CI 0.03-0.048) close friends who smoked compared to none, and were more likely to have a non-smoking (aOR 10.2, 95% CI 3.86-27.0) or no regular partner (aOR 4.01, 95% CI 1.47-10.9) than one who smoked. Non-Anglo-Australian women were also more likely to be recent quitters (aOR 2.45 (95% CI 1.10-5.42)) than Anglo-Australian women. Discussion & Conclusions: Understanding the social significance of partners and friends in LBQ women’s smoking and cessation efforts will be important for developing meaningful, effective and targeted interventions to address the persistent high rates of smoking in this population.