Exploring Identities and Preferences for Intervention Among LGBTQ+ Young Adult Smokers Through Online Focus Groups

Danielle E. Ramo, Meredith Meacham, Johannes Thrul, Alina Belohlavek, Urmimala Sarkar, Gary Humfleet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: LGBTQ+ young adults are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and associated health conditions. A culturally tailored intervention may improve smoking cessation with this priority population. We conducted focus groups to inform development of a social media intervention to help LGBTQ+ young adults quit smoking. Methods: We conducted two focus groups with LGBTQ+ young adults (N = 27) throughout the United States in a Facebook secret group online setting. An online survey characterized tobacco and other substance use. Questions posed to focus group participants addressed patterns and contexts of smoking, LGBTQ+ identity, and barriers and facilitators to participating in a culturally tailored smoking cessation intervention on social media. Focus group transcripts were coded and analyzed using directed content analysis. Results: Overall, young adults had mixed feelings about linking the identities of LGBTQ+ and smoking, and reflected differences in online and “real life” identities. Participants were generally receptive to a social media smoking cessation intervention with concerns about privacy in sharing their smoking status and LGBTQ+ identities with their online social networks. Gender nonconforming individuals had some unique concerns about Facebook policies. Conclusions: This study highlights important considerations in tailoring a social media intervention for LGBTQ+ young adults. We identified experiences of LGBTQ+ young adults that would support tailoring to a diverse community, and suggestions for how to make smoking cessation programs more appealing to this priority population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-397
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Cessation
  • Focus groups
  • Gender minority
  • Intervention
  • LGBTQ+
  • Prevention
  • Sexual minority
  • Social media
  • Tobacco
  • Youth and young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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