Tobacco taxes are one of the best ways to prevent youth initiation. Yet, we know little about how LGBT communities engage on this key public health policy. Check out our draft best practices, and let us know your thoughts and any work you know of in this area.
PS: Don’t forget that there are prizes on the line.
MPOWERED: Raise taxes on tobacco products
Rationale: Increasing the price of tobacco products reduces consumption, and this effect is more dramatic for low-income populations. LGBT people also experience the impact of tobacco taxation and reduce their usage in response.
1. Engage LGBT communities in mainstream policy change campaigns
Rationale: LGBT people are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and thus stand to greatly benefit from tobacco control policies directed toward the general population. LGBT people may be more responsive to tax increases than the general population. LGBT organizations are well-equipped with advocacy skills and experience to mobilize the community in favor of tobacco tax increases.
- Engage local LGBT organizations and communities in tobacco control to increase awareness of and support for tobacco tax campaigns
- Include LGBT organizations and leadership in tobacco control coalitions
- Fund community-based organizations to engage and activate LGBT communities on tobacco tax and media counter-advertising campaigns
○ San Francisco Campaign “When did smoking become a part of us?”
- Leverage existing relationships with LGBT-friendly policy makers to promote tobacco control aims
- Avoid inclusion of anti-LGBT organizations in coalitions
- Provide resources that will sustain the capacity of LGBT groups involved in tobacco control efforts
2. Use Tobacco taxes to fund local health programs and initiatives
Rationale: Community tobacco control efforts, including initiatives that target disproportionately affected populations, require funding and resources that can come from tobacco tax revenue.
- Engage community leadership for increased funding for tobacco control efforts
- Include community-based funding for priority populations to build support for taxing tobacco products
- Allocate tobacco tax revenue towards community-based tobacco control programs and initiatives among priority populations
3. Counter potential tobacco industry manipulation of the LGBT community in tobacco tax campaigns.
Rationale: The tobacco industry has a long history of influencing the LGBT community through targeted campaigns and funding opportunities and has previously manipulated the community in specific tobacco tax campaigns. Countering the tobacco industry’s influence around tax increases presents an opportunity to expose the industry’s exploitation of the LGBT community while working towards reduced smoking within the population.