Lead researcher Elisabeth Gruskin, a scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, compared results from a 2003-2004 tobacco-use survey of 1,950 self-identified gay, lesbian or bisexual residents with a general population survey from 2002.
"It is important to know the prevalence and reasons for smoking because we would like to have tailored prevention and cessation interventions that are appropriate for lesbians, gays or bisexuals," Gruskin said in a statement. "If stress is a huge issue, then you would want stress management as part of an intervention. If glamor is a big reason, you want to contradict that in the media."
Twelve percent of women in the general population were current smokers, compared with approximately 29 percent of lesbians and nearly 27 percent of bisexual women. Among women who have sex with women but do not identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual, 44 percent were smokers, according to the study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Among men, 20 percent in the general population smoked, compared with about 27 percent of gay men, the study said.