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Live from the Talk To Your Doctor Launch Event In DC


Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

I’m in DC at the National Press Club now for the launch of the CDC Tips from Former Smokers sub-campaign, entitled, Talk To Your Doctor, or TTYD to acronymites.

Dr. Benjamin presenting Terry with the Surgeon General's medal.
Dr. Benjamin presenting Terry with the Surgeon General’s medal.

Hopefully you’ve all been seeing the Tips from Former Smokers ads that have been in heavy rotation on TV. And hopefully some have also seen the print ad that for the first time, features a lesbian (yes, we worked hard to make that happen).

As Dr. Friedan was clear, while 70% of smokers see a doctor every year, few of them ever speak to their doctor about quitting. And as our Surgeon General, Dr. Benjamin, stated, just talking to your doctor increases your chance of quitting by 66%.

Right now, one of the people featured in the campaign is up there talking. The room is deadly silent as Bill talks about how smoking resulted in his leg being amputated. “After the surgery, when I reached down and realized my foot wasn’t there, that’s when I quit smoking.”

It only gets more intense from there since the next speaker is the woman who’s generated the most public response of any of the campaign participants, Terry. (the grandmother with a stoma) Dr. Friedan told us how Terry’s story has prompted a deluge of emails from people saying she was the reason they stopped. And unexpectedly, as Terry comes up to the podium to rousing applause, Dr. Benjamin comes back up and presents her with the Surgeon General’s medal for her outstanding leadership. We all eagerly stand to give her an ovation as Terry chokes up, “I can’t cry and talk at the same time.”

Several heads of major physicians societies follow from there. Taking different angles on urging people to talk to their doctors, “How would you like to have a $2,000 raise this year, without changing your job? Talk to your doctor.”

We’re pleased to be partnering with GLMA and Centerlink to be offering a coming webinar to LGBT doctors and service providers about the details and resources available in this new campaign. For the few months the Tips campaign will be running cessation is one of the biggest health waves rolling across the country, since LGBT smoking rates are so much higher than non-LGBT people – I really hope we’re talking to our doctors more than ever right now.

 

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