A New Year: Quitlines, targeted campaigns and the LGBT community

A New Year: Quitlines, targeted campaigns and the LGBT community

Daniella Matthews-Trigg

Program Associate

Greetings all!


So, here we are at that infamous time when we try especially hard to improve ourselves. And between recovering from holiday indulgences and starting a new year, there can be a lot of work to do.

Quitting smoking is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the major smoking cessation tools: the first Quitline in North America!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the effectiveness of targeting campaigns toward specific communities. Quitlines are a resource that is available to everyone, but targeted campaigns make sure that every community KNOWS that it is an available resource for THEM.

Quitlines have been shown to be extremely effective in supporting people through their quitting by offering “coaching and counseling, referrals, mailed materials, training to healthcare providers, Web-based services and, in some instances, free medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)”, and often in the process of quitting, what is most needed is SUPPORT.

One excellent campaign, Your Quit Date, is from Project Filter, a program of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Starring local LGBT celebrities as spokesmodels, the fabulous Martini and comedian Matt Bragg, the ads highlight “quit date” goals and the free resources available through the quitline and project filter. It speaks right to the community about the culturally competent support through Quitlines that are available for THEM.

This campaign is fun, relevant and effective and we LOVE it!

At the network, we also have some really useful resources about why it is so important to make Quitlines culturally competent and how to make it happen. Check out this brief policy paper on the reasons for adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions to state tobacco quitlines . A case study titled “Making Minnesota’s Quitlines Accessible to LGBTs” is an brief, informal interview with a leader in an amazing statewide effort to enhance LGBT access to tobacco quitlines. It covers goals, challenges, and a lesson learned and is an excellent inspiration for other organizations and states doing similar work. Additionally, download and print a few copies of our targeted national quitline poster to put up! (Do you have anything that we should add to our list of resources? We love knowing about the work that is done, so click here or email us at lgbthealthequity@gmail.com!)

Rates of smoking in the LGBT community are higher than in the general population, so it only makes sense that these communities be especially focused on for smoking interventions. We know that LGB and T communities are often stigmatized and discriminated against and therefore, reasonably, are more hesitant to access services. Creating campaigns that target the LGBT community  is a way to successfully reach this vulnerable population.

Additionally, many LGBT people live in rural areas and are socio-economically disenfranchised and as a result may face even more difficulties when accessing care. Quitlines are FREE and accessible to everyone who has access to a phone. They are toll free and can even be called from a payphone. Because of the proven success and accessibility of Quitlines, they should be a focus of anti-smoking interventions in the LGBT community.

At this time of year when people are working on their resolutions to quit smoking, we need to make an extra effort to make sure that resources are culturally competent and that people in our community know about all of the services that are available. So lets all add “increase and support LGBT cultural competency and targeting in Quitlines and anti-smoking campaigns!” to our list of resolutions this year…and hopefully it’ll last longer than the one about going to the gym.

2 thoughts on “A New Year: Quitlines, targeted campaigns and the LGBT community

  1. I totality support all of this and I am a member of http://www.quitnet.com/qnhomepage.aspx . I just want to add additional information for people that have tried and tried to quit smoking but have failed. Quitnet and I am sure Quitline do not recommend or support electric cigarettes at ALL, especially as a NRT. But I say use whatever works for you and the electric cigarette has been a life saver for me. good luck to all of you.

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