By Dr. Jenna Wintemberg, Community Advisory Council member
We were excited to participate in CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute in Atlanta this summer. This year the theme was “Engineering Healthy Communities”, which the public health nerd in me loves.
I work in tobacco control with a focus on policy. Through this work we strive to create healthy environments for tobacco-free living through local smokefree, Tobacco 21, and tobacco retailer licensing policies. While these policies protect everyone in our communities, there are added benefits for groups with disproportionately high tobacco use rates, such as LGBT individuals.
For example, Missouri does not have a comprehensive statewide smokefree law and some municipalities have adopted these policies at the local level. We did a study to see how LGBT individuals were faring in Missouri communities with comprehensive smokefree policies compared to communities without these policies. We found that living in an area with smokefree policies is related to greater intention to quit among LGBT current smokers and a lower overall smoking prevalence for LGBT Missourians.
We shared these findings at CADCA and shared LGBT HealthLink resources with attendees, including our Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Control and Cancer Control. Not only can we use these tools to engineer healthy communities, we can use them to engineer healthy LGBT communities!