State Work

For Immediate Release- LGBT HealthLink Grades States on LGBT Tobacco Integration

December 10,  2014

For Immediate Release
Dr. Scout
(954) 765-6024

LGBT HealthLink Grades States on LGBT Tobacco Integration

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – December 10, 2014 – LGBT HealthLink today announced the first ever grades for state tobacco programs’ LGBT inclusion practices. The grades, based on a survey of best practices originally conducted in 2013 and updated this fall, represent an assessment of the overall progress each state has made in addressing inclusion, including policies, training, data collection, and community engagement. Grades span from “A” to “F”, with the average across states a “C+”.

LGBT people smoke at rates that are over 50% higher than the general population and experience profound health disparities in both cancer and smoking-related disease. The survey was developed to bring transparency to how successful states are at integrating this disproportionately affected population into their overall tobacco control work.

According to Daniella Matthews-Trigg, Administrator of LGBT HealthLink, “The results of this survey not only illustrate the work that needs to be done, but highlights the impressive efforts by many states. Our hope is that creating a system for comparison will motivate states to adopt as many best practices as possible, thereby improving acceptance and wellness in LGBTQ communities around the country”. LGBT HealthLink is offering resources to each state to improve their grades.

For several years, LGBT HealthLink (formerly the Network for LGBT Health Equity) has been circulating “Identifying and Eliminating LGBT Tobacco Disparities”, a document outlining the best practices for state programs in LGBT tobacco control, and working closely with states to implement them. These report cards are intended to gauge adoption of those best practices at a state level and create a baseline for future work.

The release of the report cards comes just after the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health recently accepted applications from states for their next five years of tobacco funding. Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink, noted that “In order to eliminate the LGBT smoking disparity, we need to make sure the tobacco control community targets us just like the tobacco industry already does.”

Matthews-Trigg emphasized how closely HealthLink is working with states improve their grades, “We are the people providing technical assistance to these states to do this well, so this is really a report card of our work as much as theirs. We look forward to continuing our work with the many amazing state representatives to get these grades even higher.”

View the report cards:

For more about the methodology and scoring:

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 LGBT HealthLink, a program of CenterLink, spreads LGBT wellness best practices across state and federal health departments and community organizations. LGBT HealthLink is one of eight CDC-funded tobacco and cancer disparity networks.

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers. Serving over 200 LGBT community centers across the country in 46 states. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, as well as centers in Canada, Mexico, China, Cameroon and Australia, the organization plays an important role in supporting the growth of LGBT centers and addressing the challenges they face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity and increase access to public resources.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at:

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.


Yet another life lost to smoking

We are deeply saddened to report that Bill Busse, a Tips From Former Smokers ad participant, has passed away. The cause of death was heart disease, which is very common for smokers. Bill shared his story on the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign about the affects that smoking had on his health (made more severe by diabetes, which he had since childhood).

The CDC released a statement from Tim McAfee, Director, CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health on the passing of Bill Busse. The CDC asks that you please direct any questions and/or condolences to The CDC will make sure that your correspondence is forwarded to Bill’s family.

Bill’s health problems didn’t stop him from heroically coming forward towarn other smokers of some of the dangers they faced if they don’t quit smoking.  Nor did his health problems stop Bill from enjoying time with his kids.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill’s wife, two children and two step-children, as well as his parents and his sister.

A tip for smokers, from the man himself; “Make a list and put the people you love at the top, put down your eyes your legs your kidneys and your heart, now cross off all the things you’re okay with losing, because you’d rather smoke.”

You can view Bill Busse’s videos here.

Quit Tips

Action Alert – Do you know an LGBT person who has quit smoking? Help us share their story…


Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Do you know an LGBT person who has quit smoking? Help us share their story…

As you may have seen through our press statement today, CDC officially launched the Tips 2 Campaign this morning. We were pleased to report the inclusion of an LGBT focused ad, and ad buys to reach our community. In an effort to showcase the campaign ads, the National Networks will be hosting a series of stories and tips from our own communities, that will be hosted on our joint website

This is where we need your support…

We are looking for LGBT people who has successful quit smoking to share their stories on our joint site.  Over the Next week the website will launch with collected stories to date, and will be updated with stories as they are submitted.

If you have a friend who has quit, or maybe folks that have been through your cessation classes that you would like to showcase please fill out the attached form as soon as possible and send to either Christine Corrales with Appeal, or directly back to the Network

You can send the form directly to them, or you can call and fill it out really quick if they are interested in being showcased on the site. This is our opportunity to show our community that we can break the nicotine habit together, while sharing valuable tips for other looking for help as they work to quit.

Click the link below to automatically download the brief quick and simple form to fill out:

NN Website_Tips 2 Content Form

Thank you all for your continued support in ensuring LGBT representaiton in mainstreem tobacco control efforts.


Future Trends of Tobacco Product use and Implications for Regulation

By Gustavo Torrez

Program Manager, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health


Terry Pechacek, PhD

Associate Director for Science, Office on Smoking & Health

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion

Dr. Pechacek outlined three main concerns for the future;

  • Use of other tobacco products besides cigarettes,
  • Patters of using two or more tobacco products, and
  • Dual use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products specifically

He outlines a trend we are all very familiar with, new smokeless products. In most communities we have seen that new smokeless products have a broad appeal across all communities, and this is a huge concern Dr. Pechacek notes.

Within the LGBT Communities specifically, RJR has been pushing their Camel SNUS product through direct advertising in most of the LGBT publication across the country as you may already know. Additionally, data from a 2009 SAMHSA report shows that there is a dramatic increase of smokeless products within the youth and young adult populations. With that being said Dr. Pachacek outlines specific points we need to keep an eye on.

  • Prolonging smoking substantially increases risk,
  • Duration is a stronger determinant of risk than intensity,
  • Use of smokeless in addition to cigarettes adds further layer of risk, and
  • Combined effects are unknown, which he states is, worrisome

These are all causes for concern as duel use may also facilitate a pattern of “Light” and/or “social smoking” within the young adult community.  In addition, people may not perceive themselves to be a smoker. Which we know naturally leads into another area of concern as these pattern poses particular challenges to cessation efforts.

Furthermore, Dr. Pacheceo outlines the implications below as we begin to see these new trends take hold of our communities.

  • The emerging trends in smoking and dual use threaten to reverse progress toward reducing tobacco use and its health burden.
  • We need to keep a closer eye on these trends and monitor their population impact
  • We need to monitor use of all tobacco products not just cigarettes
  • We need to monitor use of combination of tobacco products, rather than monitoring use of each product in isolation.
Dr. Pechacek made some great points in his short 15 minute presentation on wednesday. For those of you who know Dr. Pechacek you know that he is a wealth of knowledge and giving someone like him 15 minutes to present is a challenge. He spoke fast and packed in a lot of content but hope these are some relevant points for you all.

FDA’s Taken a Stand Against Tobacco, But What’s the Role of Cities & States?

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industryat Harvard School of Public Health on “The Regulation of Tobacco by State and Local Governments in the 21st Century” by Douglas Blanke of William Mitchell College of Law

Blanke shares that for the most part, state, cities and counties have led tobacco control efforts despite federal acts. For federal policies to take place, states and cities need to be active in enforcing federal policies and enhancing current policies. So what can be done?

6 Roles of States and Cities

  1. A Force Multiplier – states will enforce federal laws by compliance checks, as ears to the grounds to understand applicability
  2. Voice of Experience – wrestling with tobacco industry hasn’t always been pretty for states, but states have the first-hand experience of means to do this work
  3. Accountability – states/cities hold the tobacco industry accountable on the grassroots level and have to defend against the opposition
  4. Partners in policy – states and cities have more jurisdiction and power in certain ways to act that FDA does not. For instance, states and cities can add more bans and more warning labels than federally required.
  5. Experimentation – states and cities can experiment with new policies and counter-marketing when the federal government doesn’t have that same leeway.
  6. Hold the most powerful tools – States have the most powerful levers to achieving tobacco elimination visions

Though there are many steps that Blanke suggests for states and cities, he stresses that in many ways the FDA needs states and cities more than they need the FDA. So don’t be thinking the role of states and cities will be overshadowed by FDA announcements and acts or that it wasn’t the work of states and cities that got us here!


The Kennedy Family’s Legacy to a Tobacco-Free America

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health

Joseph P. Kennedy III (grandson of Robert Kennedy), nephew of Ted Kennedy has a career of public health service and advocacy and spoke to the legacy of the Kennedy’s in tobacco control. At today’s event, he was presented with the honoring of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy’s great contribution to tobacco control adding to the family legacy as seen below.

 Kennedy Tobacco Control Timeline

  • 1962 – Surgeon General Warning announced by JFK.
  • 1967 – Robert Kennedy gave address to World Conference on Tobacco or Health
  • 2007 – Led hearing on FDA regulation of tobacco products
  • 2009 – Obama signed Ted Kennedy’s legislation, Affordable Care Act and Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Now in 2011 FDA has broadened authority to restrict tobacco marketing. Hopefully just as it has done for food labeling, regulating meat and dairy, responding quickly to approve HIV medications, great strides will be made in our protection from tobacco in short order.

As this conference memorialized the great work of late Senator Ted Kennedy and legacy of the family in the past 50 years, Joseph Kennedy talks about how this fight goes back even further, and is owed largely to other activists and scientists who shoveled against the tide of society’s widespread acceptance of tobacco.

Joseph acknowledges the losses within the century and complacancy of all areas of society and the government. Cigarettes were defended by doctors, given out in airplanes and sponsored basketball games. To folks like Joseph and myself, that is unbelievable.

Kennedy recognizes the scientists and activists who led this cause. These wins were made by us and our predecessors.  As a result of the struggles and successes, for Joseph and my generation, smoking is not allowed in as many public spaces, it’s universally seen as unhealthy and just isn’t as cool anymore. We have generations of advocates, and some of you reading this, to thank!


Our 2020 Vision: Creating a Childproof Cigarette Market by 2020

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health

In the last 20 years, even 10 years, we’ve seen a gradual decrease in tobacco use, even with youth. As more and more youth pick up the habit and as more and more smokers suffer and die, this product continues to wreak habit on our community, and more needs to be done to put an end to this epidemic.

Representatives from Legacy for Health presented on our successes, challenges and goals for the next ten years, with highlights on our progress in the past decade. In absence of Cheryl Heaton of Legacy Health, Dave Dobbins presented on steps for states to be doing to work on elimination of tobacco.

David Dobbins, Legacy Health

What should states be doing?

  • Taxation/point-of-sale policies – move tobacco sales to their own stores like liquor stores
  • Smokefree Air Laws
  • Warning labels and pack design
  • Regulatory requirements/incentives to move away from more harmful products
  • Eliminate flavoring
  • Youth Outreach
  • Physician trainings in cessation
  • Perform more research to provide evidence

As we reflect on our accomplishments from the last ten years, and the goals we made then, we should aim even higher for the next ten years to create smoke-free generation of youth.


Who’s Not Here? – Who should we ensure sits at the tobacco public health table?

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Phillip Gardinier of Nicotine Dependence & Policy Research at the University of California presented on the “FDA Involvement of Stakeholders in the Regulatory Process: Still Time to Remedy the Situation.”

He spoke about the communities that are left out of the tobacco control movement, policies, research and debate on tobacco control, and the need to reach out to those left out. We of course know that those left out are low-SES people, communities of color and us (the LGBT communities) which we applaud Dr. Gardinier for clearly pointing out.

For example since NAATPN and communities of color weren’t included in policy discussions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, menthol was not restricted in that Act.

The question here is if all stakeholders are equal? And the answer is no since tobacco representatives are invited to the table more than disparity groups despite their history of lies and deceit and violation of laws.

So what needs to be done?

We need an Office of Health Disparities – To ensure voices are always heard and better position against tobacco industry and coordinate with the Office of Minority Health. CTP is to be applauded for reaching out to the most affected groups. Most importantly, communities experiences tobacco disparities and traditionally left out of the conversation, should be included. If the tobacco industry is brought up, but not minority groups, they win as they are still selling their products to minority groups.

As a result of this presentation, it’s ever more clear that we’re fortunate to be here as the LGBT Network and happy to represent our communities and report this important information and collaborations to all of you.


Tobacco Industry’s Strategies Since Ban of “Mild” and “Low” Labels

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health

With ban of “light”, “low” and “mild” bans, does that mean sales with decrease or that consumers will not be able to identify them? Dr. David Hammond (University of Waterloo) says absolutely not through recent studies of smokers in light of new regulations.

New advertisement schemes

Despite their brand loyalty even smokers, bipartisan congressional representatives are largely in favor of actual reduction of nicotine and harmful chemicals rather than marketing their products as such without the science behind it.

As you can see Marlboro Ultra lights have a lighter color

The reason for that is because tobacco companies have caught on by just changing the colors of the packaging so that lighter colors like light green, silver or light blue will replace “light” or “low tar”. The majority of consumers understood the differences and maintained loyalty to their products.

To understand this, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has great resources on what the tobacco industry is doing, how to identify and track those tactics to better educate the public and combat the industry’s slyness.