Network to Give Out Scholarships for Creating Change 2010!

SCHOLARSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT- CREATING CHANGE CONFERENCE 2010
February 4-7, 2010
Dallas, TX

APPLICATION DUE: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 by 5pm EST

Once again, the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network is looking to send a few fellow advocates to participate in another great training, networking, and skill building opportunity. We are currently offering approximately 5 Scholarships to the Creating Change Conference.

What is Creating Change you might ask?

Creating Change is the one and only time each year that more than 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from every corner of the country converge to strategize, socialize and mobilize for LGBT equality. It features top-level trainings, workshops, networking sessions and action-planning with our movement’s best thinkers and brightest innovators — oh yeah, there’s also tons of opportunities for socializing, meeting up with old friends and making lots of new ones.  For more conference details you can go to http://www.creatingchange.org/.

So, if you are working on, or advocating for LGBT tobacco issues, we want you to apply for a scholarship and join us this year at Creating Change!

Scholarships will cover: airfare, ground transport, conference registration and double occupancy hotel for three nights, & per diem reimbursement.

Please Note: If you are selected by our Scholarship Committee to attend the conference you will be asked to represent the Network. We will be asking scholarship recipients to create blogs, tweets, videos etc. that can be uploaded to our social networking sites to document the conference. In addition, you will be asked to sign-up in shifts to assist in manning the Network booth.

Application details:

Once again, applications are due Tuesday, December 29, 2009 by 5pm EST

Applications will only be accepted by email at lgbttobacco@gmail.com

Please ensure the subject line reads: CREATING CHANGE SCHOLARSHIP

To apply, please email BRIEF responses to the following questions:

1) Briefly describe what your involvement has been in the tobacco control community over the past year?

2) Briefly describe why you would be good at promoting, the on the spot, conference happenings through the Networks social media sites such as creating blogs, tweets, video blogs etc.

3) Briefly describe why would you be valuable to the network (besides already being in the network, because that is a huge value already) to help promote our activities and create more awareness of the Network at the booth and overall at the conference?

4) Briefly describe if you are from of an underserved population?

5) Do you need a Full or Partial scholarship?
(Please mark with an X if you are applying for Full Scholarship or Partial Scholarship)
If you choose partial scholarship, please mark with an X what funding categories you will be applying for.

___ Full Scholarship (Airfare, Hotel, Registration, Ground Transportation, Per Diem $1095)

OR
___ Partial Scholarship
___ Airfare (approx $350)
___ Conference Registration ($300)
___ Food/Per Diem ($160)
___ Ground Transportation ($60.00)
___ Hotel (3 nights/shared $225)

Applications will be reviewed by our review team and decisions will be made no later than December 30, 2009.

If you already plan on attending the conference we want to know! Shoot us an email so we can meet up with you in dallas!See you there!

Action Alert- Attn Orgs! Sign on to Create an Office of LGBT Health

Action Alert from the National Coalition for LGBT Health

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering creating a dedicated Office of LGBT Health. This would be an incredible affirmation of the importance of LGBT health and would help keep LGBT health concerns high on the list of priorities for attention, funding, and programming.

HHS is expected to make this decision before Thanksgiving. Due to the tight timeline, we are asking groups and organizations to sign on to the letter below by not later than 1 PM EST tomorrow (Friday, 11/20).

If your group or organization would like to sign on, please email Kellan Baker Policy Associate at the National Coalition for LGBT Health. Please do not hesitate to contact Kellan with any questions.

Please join us in supporting an Office of LGBT Health and a healthier future for the LGBT community!

November 19, 2009

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary for Health
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius,

The undersigned organizations are writing to you in support of the creation of an Office of LGBT Health to address the health disparities facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. An Office of LGBT Health at the highest level of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is critical to creating a lasting infrastructure that will allow for a focus the health concerns of the LGBT community. This office would take the lead in coordinating a consistent, scientifically driven, and substantive response across HHS to LGBT health disparities.

For LGBT people, systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression has led to decades of obstructed access to health care and has significant negative impacts on the overall health of LGBT individuals. LGBT people suffer disproportionately from the adverse health effects of stigma, stress, and violence, further compounded by the barriers that prevent them from accessing vital health care services even for routine care: research has consistently shown that being LGBT substantially impacts whether or not a person receives care and, when they do receive care, whether that care effectively speaks to all aspects of their lives. Moreover, many members of the LGBT community are members of other communities that also face substantial health disparities and are thus vulnerable to cumulative negative outcomes. For example, an African-American gay man faces disparities common to the African-American community as well as those suffered by the LGBT community, and a transsexual Spanish-speaking woman, regardless of her sexual orientation, must navigate multiple instances of discrimination based on language, ethnicity, and gender.

These health and health care disparities are now recognized by numerous divisions of HHS, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Healthy People 2020 has also acknowledged the imperative to address the disparities in health status and health care access that impact the LGBT community. An autonomous Office of LGBT Health within HHS is a key step in coordinating and streamlining the agency’s efforts to address LGBT health disparities and would be a laudable demonstration of the agency’s commitment to the health and well-being of the LGBT community.

We look forward to your reply. If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Fox at the National Coalition for LGBT Health at (202) 436-0228 or Rebecca@lgbthealth.net.

Sincerely,

CC: Assistant Secretary Howard Koh

The LGBT Tobacco Policy Update You All Have Been Waiting For

Hey y’all,
A few weeks back I had the distinct pleasure of spending a few different batches of time in fluorescent lit meeting rooms in some anonymous Atlanta hotel. And you know I love that for its own sake, but also, the entertainment added some extra value. It was probably your normal cabaret show (a.k.a. CDC Office on Smoking and Health meeting and National Tobacco Disparity Networks), but in the middle, we got a few different policy updates from the good folk working on tobacco policy at a national level. So, here for your edification, is the 200% unofficial Scout-version of what might have been said, rumored, or implied. As per usual, all errors are probably someone else’s fault, and all correct information is absolutely to my credit.

They thought we were screaming mimis
So, times are a changing with tobacco. Why? Well there’s been a few bombshells recently about the potential impact of Clean Indoor Air Laws. Did you see the recent news about smoking bans cutting heart attacks by about 1/4?

iom_report_sml
IOM's Report on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects

Well this was a precursor to the later release of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on clean indoor air. This was rumored to be the first ever IOM report held up for release, because they couldn’t believe the strength of the findings, so they had to double check to be sure.

In that, they find smoking bans decrease heart attacks by about 1/5. Now this isn’t even considering all the associated health gains, it’s just heart attack. This is a 1-2 punch with a forthcoming Surgeon General’s report that’s staged to be released soon which continues to drive the smoking risk points home… each of these documents present conclusions that are stronger than prior claims… and as they were summarized by one guy, it’s basically such a strong negative effect between smoking and cancer that we can’t assure you that walking by a smoker once won’t be enough to give you cancer. Now in publichealthia (the land of pubic health) we rarely stumble across anything that has as big an effect as reducing 1/5 of heart attacks — so this is getting lots of notice. In the words of another, “they were dismissing our claims about clean indoor air as overestimation, now everyone realizes we were actually underestimating the risks”. This focus on policy dovetails nicely with the Obama push to move health upstream, to reclaim the dusty unfavored idea of Prevention! Remember, he also recently appointed a new bulldog to head the CDC, a guy who is rumored to work day and night and one who comes out of Bloomberg’s Tobacco-Control Land (a.k.a. New York City). So, we think tobacco control is getting more natural attention at CDC thru this move as well.

Wellness arise!
I know you all have seen the different spurts of cash coming out thru the $650M of stimulus money allocated to chronic disease prevention, the Wellness RFA, another nearly indistinguishable Wellness RFA, and some quitline $ (and yet, I’m not sure it all adds up to $650M, hmm?). So these are rumored to be Obama/CDCs shot over the prow at Wellness/prevention initiatives, with the hope they are a good testbed for smart ideas to include in bigger wellness/prevention rollouts as part of health care reform. (Or HCR for the vowel-impaired). Seems like all the states and “communities” (aka cities) are planning to submit for these awards, so it’ll be interesting to see what programs make the cut, and of course, how many of those actually include LGBT in their disparity planning. Another upshot in this wellness/prevention drift is relative lower focus on cessation, concurrent with more on policy and prevention activities. There’s an effort afoot to push cessation costs more onto employers/insurers (which only seems to be insanely logical, what mercury poisoned actuary really is advising insurance companies that it’s financially prudent not to cover nicotine replacement therapy, etc?). (Wups, will the mercury poisoning lobby dislike me for that?). Look for a large employer to take the lead in near months on showing how a smart “company” really does do comprehensive cessation benefits.

What about FDA?
It’s here! It’s vague! Get used to it! was heard being chanted outside the hotel windows, I presume they were talking about FDA. But according to the folk inside, this is a bill that is, of course you naive simpleton, not perfect, but as bills go, not dang horrid either. FDAs got some teeth, thinking is esp at a local level, where many communities have control over the laws governing advertising. Much talk of the change as we (finally) get new warning ads, but how we have a long way to progress to the ‘tombstone’ standard where tobacco companies are only able to say their cigarette name and price in a generic font at sales locations and on packages. There was some general shaming about how some lovely but not public health leading countries such as maybe Indonesia (?) are trumping our butts on having good tobacco control policies, but then, I don’t think any of us are deluded as to any US supremacy we may have on this issue, right? Anyhow, it’s power to the people here in FDA-land, where we might find lots of community action potential to keep cigarettes off our babies bodies. Of course, community level change seems a bit harder to do than one national law, but what, are we lazy? (slow yawn) No!!

Empower really always had too many vowels
So it’s the big new framework around tobacco, everything has to do with MPOWER, or as some pithy individual noted, MPOWERD. What is it? Jeez, I lost my notes… um… oh yah, it appears to be a WHO package. What? (no What’s on second) Oh, I found it, a package of 6 proven policies. M=Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies. P=Protect people from tobacco smoke. O=Offer to help people quit. W=Warn about dangers of tobacco. E=Enforce bans on tobacco ads, promotion and sponsorship. R=Raise taxes on tobacco. And of course, the silent D= eliminate Disparities!! Now isn’t that just too cute an acronym for words? Aren’t you proud of the World Health Organization (WHO) acronym generation team? I am. And mostly, if your tobacco control is working on something else, then what are you doing? Or maybe also to note, if your comprehensive tobacco control program isn’t addressing all of this, then your acronym is unspeakable. And us LGBTQIs would never ever be ok with that. Puh. (getting a feeling I should wind this up real soon)

Nu CDC combined ATS has LGBT! (vowel reduction sentence)
Oh yes, it’s true we all should be excited, the new combined Adult Tobacco Survey (ATS) coming out soon has an LGBT surveillance question!! Please contain the dancing in the streets folks, it’s just a start, but yes, we are very happy about it. Oh hey — any moment now I’m about to announce the first largescale T survey findings on tobacco, because we negotiated to get a tobacco question on the recent NGLTF national trans survey…. wanna know a preview? Yup, as expected, prevalence 50% over nat’l avg. But this is *no longer a guess*, it’s real data from 2k+ living trans folk, w00t!

In conclusion
Omigosh, I think that’s it. (and about time you’re all thinking). So from the bowels of some unremarkable hotel conference room, I remain, sincerely yours,

Dr. He’s-Just-Always-So-Professional Scout

Please Welcome Nat’l LGBT Tobacco Network’s New Project Manager!

The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network is pleased to announce a key addition to our staff. After a long search, we are very happy to welcome Mr. Gustavo Torrez from California as our new Project Manager.

Many of you already know Gustavo, he has been involved in the tobacco control movement for 14 years. After being an outspoken teen on the subject of tobacco, he was one of a few young adults from around the country selected for American Legacy Foundation’s Speakers Bureau and later, their Activism Council. For the Past 8 years he has been working with the STAND Projects, a program of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant trails in Sacramento. During this time, he has assisted in the development and management of eight successfully grant funded programs bring in over 2.8 million dollars for his local community. From this work he now moves onto Boston to The Fenway Institute where he’ll fill out the team of three staff at the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network. Gustavo says, “After working with the American Legacy Foundation I always wanted to do more work on a national level. I’ve worked in the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network for years and I really appreciate all the great people and amazing work going on. I am frankly ecstatic to have the opportunity to join the staff team to help move the Network forward further.”

For our part we are sincerely delighted to have gotten the sweet mix of an experienced hand at tobacco and such an up and coming star into the house team for the Network. Look for great things to come.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Gustavo, feel free to send him welcome emails at lgbttobacco@gmail.com or leave comments on here!

Please Welcome Nat’l LGBT Tobacco Network’s New Project Manager!

The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network is pleased to announce a key addition to our staff. After a long search, we are very happy to welcome Mr. Gustavo Torrez from California as our new Project Manager.

Many of you already know Gustavo, he has been involved in the tobacco control movement for 14 years. After being an outspoken teen on the subject of tobacco, he was one of a few young adults from around the country selected for American Legacy Foundation’s Speakers Bureau and later, their Activism Council. For the Past 8 years he has been working with the STAND Projects, a program of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant trails in Sacramento. During this time, he has assisted in the development and management of eight successfully grant funded programs bring in over 2.8 million dollars for his local community. From this work he now moves onto Boston to The Fenway Institute where he’ll fill out the team of three staff at the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network. Gustavo says, “After working with the American Legacy Foundation I always wanted to do more work on a national level. I’ve worked in the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network for years and I really appreciate all the great people and amazing work going on. I am frankly ecstatic to have the opportunity to join the staff team to help move the Network forward further.”

For our part we are sincerely delighted to have gotten the sweet mix of an experienced hand at tobacco and such an up and coming star into the house team for the Network. Look for great things to come.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Gustavo, feel free to send him welcome emails at lgbttobacco@gmail.com or leave comments on here!

Network presence at 2nd Menthol Conference

Hi,  reporting from the 2nd Menthol Conference hosted by NAATPN in Washington D.C.

Lots of interesting information given on the first day here that isn’t specific to LGBT  but maybe of general interest.

1.  Role of menthol and increased health risks –to date the scientific data does not support higher rates of disease (cancer, heart disease, etc.) associated with use of menthol cigarettes.  The same health risks associated with smoking remain with use of menthol cigarettes. Menthol is not a safer brand.

2.  Menthol is associated with deeper inhalation which increases the amount of nicotine received while smoking fewer numbers of cigarettes per day.  This has implications for lower income and young smokers where access to cigarettes are limited due to cost.

3.  Menthol has been shown to be the initiation flavor for youth.  The level of menthol is manipulated for various types of smokers.  For brands targeted toward younger smokers, menthol levels are milder to mask the harsh taste of tobacco.  Menthol levels are increased for brands targeted toward older and more chronic smokers.

4.  Use of menthol products vary by demographic groups. African Americans use at the highest levels followed by Latinos.  However, women more likely to use than men.  Young and new smokers use menthol brands.  Low income smokers also more likely to use menthol.  No data is available for LGBT communities.

5.  Targeting – there has been very relentless targeting of menthol among African Americans.  “The Africanization of menthol”.  However, there is also targeting in Latino and Asian communities.  Use of menthol is increasing in these communities.

6.  Smoking cessation – the use of menthol cigarettes is associated with more difficulty in quitting.

7.  In 2009 FDA outlawed the manufactoring of flavored cigarettes because of greater preference by youth.  However, menthol was exempted from that legislation.  Due to activism by the AA community and other anti-tobacco advocates the FDA has agreed to review the data associated with menthol with the possibility of banning menthol.

8.  Marketing experts discussed how regulations regarding advertisement of flavored cigs. can be easily “worked around.”  Terms like “frost”, “ice”, “purple haze”  and packaging colors can be used and will not be covered under the FDA acts.

9.  Cheryl Healton (spelling) from the Legacy foundation has been the only presenter to mention lgbt.

O.k., all for now.  alicia.

Welcome!

Tobacco control advocates, activists, LGBT’s, allies, and those fighting the good fight…

Welcome to the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network’s blog. One of six funded CDC networks, we work as a hub linking LGBTs and tobacco control through up-to-the-minute news, materials, and expert advice. To find out more about what we do, please visit  our website.

We will be utilizing this blog to highlight events that Network staff and members participate in, with other related issues to LGBT tobacco control as well.  You can also follow us on twitter @lgbttobacco or find us on facebook!

Til next time…
-Network Blog Guru

Menthol Conference

Hi,  Lots of interesting information that isn’t specific to LGBT but may
be of general interest.

1.  Role of menthol and increased health risks – to date the scientific
data does not support higher rates of disease (cancer, heart disease,
etc.) associated with use of menthol cigarettes.  The same health risks
associated with smoking remain with use of menthol cigarettes.  Menthol is
not a safer brand.

2.  Menthol is associated with deeper inhalation which increases the
amount of nicotine received while smoking fewer numbers of cigarettes per
day.  This has implications for lower income and young smokers where
access to cigarettes are limited due to cost.

3.  Menthol has been shown to be the initiation flavor for youth.  The
level of menthol is manipulated for various types of smokers.  For brands
targeted toward younger smokers, menthol levels are milder to mask the
harsh taste of tobacco.  Menthol levels are increased for brands targeted
toward older and more chronic smokers.

4.  Use of menthol products vary by demographic groups.  African Americans
use at the highest levels followed by Latinos.  However, women more likely
to use than men.  Young and new smokers use menthol brands.  Low income
smokers also more likely to use menthol.  No data is available for LGBT
communities.

5.  Targeting – there has been very relentless targeting of menthol among
African Americans.  “The Africanization of menthol”.  However, there is
also targeting in Latino and Asian communities.  Use of menthol is
increasing in these communities.

6.  Smoking cessation – the use of menthol cigarettes is associated with
more difficulty in quitting.
7.  In 2009 FDA outlawed the manufactoring of flavored cigarettes because
of greater preference by youth.  However, menthol was exempted from that
legislation.  Due to activism by the AA community and other anti-tobacco
advocates the FDA has agreed to review the data associated with menthol
with the possibility of banning menthol.

8.  Marketing experts discussed how regulations regarding advertisement of
flavored cigs. can be easily “worked around.”  Terms like “frost”, “ice”,
“purple haze”  and packaging colors can be used and will not be covered
under the FDA acts.

9.  Cheryl Healton (spelling) from the Legacy foundation has been the only
presenter to mention lgbt.

O.k., all for now.  Phoenix

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