Cigarette smoking has long been a target of public health intervention because it substantially contributes to morbidity and mortality. Individuals in different-sex marriages have lower smoking risk (i.e., prevalence and frequency) than different-sex cohabiters. However, little is known about the smoking risk of individuals in same-sex cohabiting unions. We compare the smoking risk of individuals in different-sex marriages, same-sex cohabiting unions, and different-sex cohabiting unions using pooled cross-sectional data from the 1997–2010 National Health Interview Surveys (N = 168,514). We further examine the role of socioeconomic status (SES) and psychological distress in the relationship between union status and smoking. Estimates from multinomial logistic regression models reveal that same-sex and different-sex cohabiters experience similar smoking risk when compared to one another, and higher smoking risk when compared to the different-sex married. Results suggest that SES and psychological distress factors cannot fully explain smoking differences between the different-sex married and same-sex and different-sex cohabiting groups. Moreover, without same-sex cohabiter’s education advantage, same-sex cohabiters would experience even greater smoking risk relative to the different-sex married. Policy recommendations to reduce smoking disparities among same-sex and different-sex cohabiters are discussed.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 23, 2013
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