Researchers from Rutgers University say that a recent study found that bisexual, lesbian, and gay female cigarette smokers were more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes.
The study, published this week in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, analyzed national data from 2015-2019 of respondents 18 years old and older by sex and sexual orientation.
Researchers found that 54 percent of bisexual female smokers preferred menthol cigarettes, and 50 percent of lesbian/gay female smokers preferred them, according to the university. That compares with 39 percent of smokers generally.
“There is a lot of research showing that bisexual females report disproportionately high rates of substance use, including cigarette smoking,” said Ollie Ganz, the study’s lead author and an instructor at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies.
In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced plans to ban menthol cigarettes.
“With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock at the time.
Researchers said their Rutgers study is the first study that found bisexual women at more risk to smoke menthol cigarettes.
“Our study confirms that this is also the case for menthol cigarettes. Given what we know about the impact of menthol on initiation, nicotine dependence, and quit success, these high rates of menthol use among bisexual female smokers may be exacerbating cigarette smoking disparities,” Ganz explained.
More research is needed, Ganz and her team said, in order to better craft smoking interventions for lesbian, gay, and bisexual smokers and to better understand the effects of the proposed menthol ban.