Smoking among sexual and gender minority (SGM) groups, which include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, has been reported from different sources as highly prevalent (46% for gay men and 48% for lesbians). Considering that the smoking rate within SGM groups is more than double that of the general population (19%) and that smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, it is clear that there is an increased risk for SGM individuals to suffer from this fatal condition. Text messaging programs have been found to be effective for smoking cessation and other health behaviors. They are appealing to traditionally hard- to-reach, at-risk populations who experience barriers to smoking cessation interventions, and who have high rates of mobile phone and text messaging use, which is the case for SGM users. Text2Quit is a smoking cessation intervention that sends tailored, supportive texts to users based on self-selected smoking quit date. Although this program has been successfully evaluated with the general population in a randomized trial and has been also tailored to pregnant women, no study has evaluated its feasibility specifically among SGM smokers. I propose 3 specific aims: (1) To develop and evaluate the design of Text2QuitPLUS, an SGM-tailored version of Text2Quit, through a qualitative approach among 16 SGM adult smokers; (2) To examine recruitment, retention, and smoking abstinence rates at 1, 3, and 6 months of follow-up among 80 SGM smokers randomized to either the original Text2Quit or Text2QuitPLUS program arms. Engagement with the programs will be also measured by calculating the number of text message responses for each SGM participant from the system records; (3) To conduct mixed-method research among 32 SGM smokers completing their participation in the feasibility trial to better understand study participants' acceptability of the cessation interventions. Results will contribute to reducing tobacco-related health disparities among SGM groups. Irene Tami-Maury, D.M.D., M.Sc., Dr.P.H., a Latina scientist appointed as a Research Assistant Professor (non-tenure track) at The University of Texas MD Anderson, is seeking 3 years of support through an NCI K22 Transition Career Development Award to Promote Diversity for the proposed transition career development plan and research. In order to fill critical gaps in her experience, she will obtain specialized training, expert advice, and first-hand experience in implementing behavioral interventions targeting underserved populations, mHealth, and advanced statistics for analyzing longitudinal data. She will also expand her knowledge and skills related to tobacco cessation, SGM health disparities, and research ethics. Dr. Tami-Maury's comprehensive training and research plans, supported by an advisory committee of established researchers in the field, will secure her long-term goal of establishing anindependently funded research program in cancer prevention and tobacco cessation, with a focus on reducing tobacco-related health disparities for SGM individuals.
Due to significantly higher prevalence of tobacco use attributed to psychosocial stressors unique to sexual and gender minority groups, implementing targeted and tailored smoking cessation interventions for this vulnerable population is crucial to reduce cancer risk. Phone text messaging is appealing to traditionally hard-to-reach, at- risk populations who experience barriers to smoking cessation interventions, particularly to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, who report high rates of mobile phone and text messaging. Stronger evidence is needed regarding the best text-messaging interventions to support cessation efforts among sexual and gender minority smokers for ultimately reducing the burden of tobacco-related health disparities in this vulnerable group.