As LGBT Americans come out for health during LGBT Health Awareness Week (March 28th – April 4th), I hope that they consider quitting smoking as one of the actions they tackle head on. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population smokes at a disproportionately high rate, and tobacco industry documents illustrate tobacco companies’ past efforts to target and exploit the LGB* market. In 1995, a tobacco company conducted a marketing plan called “Project SCUM” (Sub Culture Urban Marketing) targeting urban San Francisco populations, including gays.
Sadly, there is currently a 24-48 percent smoking prevalence among LGB adults, and smoking rates among LGB youth are estimated to be considerably higher (38%-59%) than those among adolescents in general (28%-35%). Whether this disparity is related to social stress or tobacco industry targeting the research is insufficient to understand why LGBT adults and youth smoke at higher rates.
For smokers who are committed to quitting this month, BecomeAnEX.org provides free comprehensive quit plans with tools and information. The website also serves as a convening point for smokers who want to collaborate on their successes and challenges as part of more than 350 customized support groups – including a variety of groups specifically for the LGBT Community:
* The limited studies available on this population do not include specific information on transgender individuals as a subgroup.
Learn more facts about the LGBT community and smoking.