We examined associations between smoke-free laws and smoking outcomes in a nationally representative sample of US adults, including exploring whether these associations differed for heterosexual and sexual minority (SM) adults.
We constructed county-level variables representing the percent of the population covered by state-, county-, or city-level smoke-free laws in workplaces and hospitality venues. We combined this information with restricted individual-level adult data with masked county identifiers from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2013–2018. We used modified Poisson regression to explore associations between each type of smoke-free law and the prevalence ratio (PR) of current smoking, and we used linear regression to explore associations with smoking intensity (mean cigarettes per day). We assessed interactions between smoke-free laws and SM status on the additive scale to determine whether associations were different for SM and heterosexual adults.
In adjusted models without interaction terms, smoke-free laws in hospitality venues were associated with lower prevalence of current smoking (PR = 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.89, 0.98). Both types of smoke-free laws were associated with lower mean cigarettes per day (workplace law change in mean = − 0.50, 95% CI = − 0.89, − 0.12; hospitality law change in mean = − 0.72, 95% CI = − 1.14,–0.30). We did not observe any statistically significant interactions by SM status, though statistical power was limited.
We did not find evidence that smoke-free laws were differentially associated with smoking outcomes for heterosexual and SM adults. Additional studies are needed to further explore the potential for tobacco control policies to address the elevated risk of smoking in SM communities.