The study has been conducted by researchers from UCL, University of Cambridge, London Metropolitan University, De Montfort University Leicester and Brunel University who were joined by doctor working in General Practice and a consultant from Public Health England. The researchers analyzed data of over 7,600 people involved in the Longitudinal Study of Young People.
All of the participants joined the study when they were 13-14 years of age and were followed up for a period of five years, after which they were asked about their sexual identity. The researchers revealed that around 3.5 percent of the sample identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and were twice as likely to have smoked during the study period compared to heterosexuals. Gays and lesbians were also more likely to have drank alcohol frequently and report hazardous alcohol drinking patterns.
"Our research shows that despite recent social change, young people today who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual are twice as likely to have smoked as their heterosexual peers. Gay and lesbian young people also appear to have more frequent and more hazardous alcohol drinking patterns than heterosexuals", lead researcher Dr Gareth Hagger-Johnson said.