Did You Know: Among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Smoking May Mean Having Control


A newly published study examined the meanings that sexual and gender minority youth ascribe to their tobacco use and how those meanings are shaped by the circumstances and structures of their everyday lives. This article is based on analysis of 58 in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with sexual and gender minority youth living in the San Francisco Bay area. The narratives illustrate how smoking signifies “control” in a multitude of ways, including taking control over an oppressor, controlling the effects of exposure to traumatic or day-to-day stress, and exerting control over the physical body in terms of protecting oneself from violence or defending one’s mental health. The authors conclude that these findings call into question the universal appropriateness of foundational elements that underlie tobacco control and prevention efforts directed at youth in the USA, specifically the focus on abstinence and future orientation.


Source: Antin et al. (2018). The “here and now” of youth: the meanings of smoking for sexual and gender minority youth. Harm Reduction Journal, May 31;15(1):30. doi: 10.1186/s12954-018-0236-8.

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