Cigarette Smoking and Its Associations with Substance Use and HIV-Related Sexual Risks among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men

Wenjian Xu, Wanjie Tang, Jing Zhang, Xin Shi, Yong Zheng, Michelle R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


China has the largest population of male smokers globally. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk of cigarette smoking compared to the general population. Limited data are available regarding cigarette smoking and its associations with other health issues among Chinese MSM. Eligible MSM (n = 1100) were recruited from mainland China using an online national cross-sectional survey conducted in 2014-2015. Socio-demographic characteristics, smoking behavior, substance use, homosexual stigma and outness, HIV-related risk behavior, and HIV status were obtained. Logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate predictors of current cigarette smoking frequency and the co-occurrence of smoking and drug use. Nearly 41% (n = 446) of participants had ever smoked cigarettes; 25% (n = 278) were current frequent smokers; and 13% (n = 138) were current infrequent smokers. Factors associated with a history of smoking included age, employment status, and monthly salary. Risk factors associated with current frequent smoking included self-identification as gay, having female sexual partners, binge drinking, drug use, higher levels of homosexual stigma, and being partially or fully "out" as gay. Adjusted multinomial analysis showed that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related risks, including risky sexual behaviors, lack of condom use, and a reported history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), were associated with co-occurrence of current smoking and drug use. Cigarette smoking rates remain high among MSM in China. Cigarette smoking is associated with binge drinking, drug use, and HIV-related risks in this community. There is a clear opportunity for smoking cessation interventions to be linked with HIV and substance use prevention interventions, thereby addressing multiple health issues simultaneously for the MSM community in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 5 2020


  • HIV risk
  • cigarette smoking
  • homosexual stigma
  • men who have sex with men
  • outness
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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