The dearth of research on age-related differences in risk factors for tobacco use disorder (TUD) among sexual minorities, particularly among older adults, can obscure the differential needs of sexual minority age groups for tobacco prevention and cessation. We examined the association of cumulative ethnic/racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination with moderate-to-severe TUD among U.S. sexual minority adults aged 50 years and older.
We analyzed cross-sectional data from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (n = 36,309 U.S. adults). Our sample consisted of 1,258 adults (lesbian/gay-, bisexual-, and heterosexual-identified adults with same-sex attraction/behavior) aged ≥50 years. Multivariable logistic regression analyses estimated the association of cumulative lifetime ethnic/racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination with past-year moderate-to-severe TUD and tested whether the association differed for adults aged 50-64 years versus those aged ≥65 years.
An estimated 8.1% of the sample met criteria for moderate-to-severe TUD. Lifetime ethnic/racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination was not significantly associated with moderate-to-severe TUD for adults aged ≥50 years. However, a significant 2-way interaction was found between discrimination and age. In age-stratified analyses, greater discrimination was significantly associated with greater risk for moderate-to-severe TUD for adults aged ≥65 years, but not adults aged 50-64 years.
Greater cumulative discrimination based on ethnicity/race and sexual orientation was associated with increased risk for moderate-to-severe TUD among sexual minority adults aged ≥65 years. Our findings underscore the importance of age considerations in understanding the role of discrimination in the assessment and treatment of TUD.