Smoking is about stress, and without being comfortable to talk about stressors, including societal pressures related to sexual orientation, a person isn't likely to successfully quit smoking, Scout said.
While research has not determined a reason for the higher rates, Allen said tobacco advertising and stressors play a role for the higher smoking rate.
The LGBT community is somewhat of an oppressed population, she said. Stressors including bullying and homophobia can drive people to smoke, she said.
"Those barriers are coming down but they still exist," Allen said. "Smoking sometimes is a way to cope and fit in."
The smoking industry has targeted the LGBT population in its advertising, too, she said.
Another reason that Covenant House has offered smoking cessation classes to the LGBT community is that health outcomes for smokers with HIV are typically worse than for those with HIV who don't smoke, Allen said.
"If you live with the [HIV] virus and smoke, you're vulnerable to HIV-related cancer," she said. "Your body can't fight off infection when you use tobacco."
The study was conducted in the first four months of last year. Telephone surveys were conducted of 2,132 adults.
The survey also includes a sample of adults who only have a cell phone, which is a major difference from earlier survey, according to researchers.
Of the respondents, 260 people used a cell phone and no landline, Anderson said. That sample number is based on the estimated proportion of people in the state believed to use only a cell phone compared with those who have landlines and a cell phone or a landline only, he said.
With the number of people using only cell phones increasing all the time, Anderson said the next tobacco use survey is likely to include a bigger sample of those with only cell phones.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.