Feds using taxpayer funds to study LGBTQ smoking habits

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LGBTQ teens need special intervention to combat their smoking habits, according to the University of California, San Francisco. The institution recently obtained hundreds of thousands in government funding for a project aimed at creating a “culturally-tailored intervention” on social media for the demographic.

According to the grant, the National Institutes of Health will shell out nearly $250,000 on a “Facebook intervention” which will target young gay people who smoke. The university felt the research was relevant due to a “key health inequality,” in that tobacco use and disease within the group is high.

The grant states:

“This research will test a novel social media intervention targeting tobacco use among sexual and gender minority young adults. A tailored intervention that is delivered through the highly accessible and widely used medium of Facebook is expected to be engaging to a marginalized population, thereby reducing a key health inequity. Our project advances the public health core value of justice by addressing the high use and disproportionate disease caused by tobacco among sexual and gender minority young people.”

According to the grant, sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults “are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and associated health conditions.” It also states they are less satisfied with treatment options than others, and “face significant barriers to treatment.”

While wide consensus shows that SGMs do well in programs tailored to their “specific needs,” the university says there aren’t enough programs doing that. Yet, “[s]ocial media offer phenomenal opportunity to engage young people in intervention to treat tobacco use,” the grant states.

The same group developed the Facebook Tobacco Status Project (TSP), a “stage-matched smoking cessation intervention for young adults.” Using 120 teenagers who have smoked 100 cigarettes or more over the course of their lives, the study will invite the sexual and gender minorities to join a private Facebook group that features posts prompting them to quit smoking.

The 2-year study will compare the Put It Out Project (POP), a randomized trial, with the TSP and other controlled conditions.

“The primary outcome will be biochemically verified 7-day abstinence from smoking at 3 and 6 months. Secondary outcomes will be a quit attempt (y/n), stage of change, and thoughts about tobacco abstinence at 3 and 6 mos.,” according to the university.

In the first batch of research, which started in August and will continue through February 2019, the university received $246,785.

H/T: The Free Beacon

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