Same-Sex Cohabitation and Smoking: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence

Corinne Reczek, University of Cincinnati
Dustin C. Brown, University of Texas at Austin

A significant body of research suggests that marriage is associated with a reduction in smoking. However, gays and lesbians report higher levels of cigarette consumption than the heterosexual population, yet same-sex couples are unable to legally marry at a federal level. We use pooled data from the 1997-2009 National Health Interview Survey to examine how smoking status differs for 662 same-sex cohabiting men and 630 same-sex cohabiting women compared to their heterosexual married, heterosexual cohabiting, divorced, widowed, and never-married counterparts (N=297,976). Results from multinomial logistic regression models reveal that same-sex cohabiters are more likely to smoke than their married counterparts, as equally likely to smoke as their heterosexual cohabiting counterparts, and more likely to smoke than their divorced, widowed and never married counterparts. We also utilize supplementary qualitative data (N=120) collected with same-sex cohabiting and heterosexual married individuals to highlight the mechanisms that underlie these survey trends.

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Presented in Session 109: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health