Data · Resources · state · State Work · Tobacco Policy

Sassy new ad and infograph highlight LGBT smoking disparity in California



Brian Davis, Project Director
Freedom From Tobacco





New video and infographic resources were unveiled by California’s anti-tobacco partners for the LGBT community to address the disproportionate impact of tobacco within the community.  In California, the LGB community has one of the highest smoking rates of any group; lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are twice as likely to smoke as the straight population, based on data collected as part of the California Adult Tobacco Survey (CATS) from 2005 to 2010 through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

CATS does not currently identify Transgender status.  Future versions of the survey will hopefully rectify this problem, so that we will have more complete data on all of our communities in subsequent reports.  Although this limitation is by no means confined to California data, we do know from multiple sources that the LGBTQ population nationally smokes anywhere from 50% to 200% more than the general population.

Issues of highest concern:

  • The smoking prevalence of the California LGB population is twice as high as heterosexual adults (27.4 percent vs. 12.9 percent)
  • Lesbians smoke almost 3 times as much as straight women and gay men smoke almost two times as much as straight men.
  • LGB Californians are nearly twice as likely as straight Californians to let someone smoke in their homes even if they don’t smoke.

The goal of these materials is to inform and drive conversations to help the LGBT community come together to fight tobacco. The groundbreaking new video, which premiered to appreciative audiences at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival last June, sends the all-important message that our community members can help each other break free from tobacco. Hopefully the video will help change the perception of tobacco addiction from primarily being viewed as an individual problem to instead being regarded as a serious concern for the entire community to address.

 CTCP infographic LGB4

 Check out TobaccoFreeCA for more info and ads!

Quit Tips

Cigarette butts: why are we still throwing them on the ground?!?!

DMT headshot

Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
Attempting to air my pet peeves in a constructive way 



A survey released in April by Legacy shows that while “more than 88 percent of Americans surveyed think that cigarette butts are an environmental concern, more than 44 percent of those polled who had ever smoked admit to having dropped a cigarette on the ground and nearly 32 percent have dropped a cigarette out of a car window.”

UM HELLO!? I would bet that the majority of the people surveyed would NEVER even think of dropping a plastic bottle on the ground, or throwing wrappers out of their car window. So why don’t people feel like cigarette butts are the same thing? Why does dropping a used cigarette not “count” as littering?

In an increasingly health and environmentally conscious world, cigarette butts remain one of the only socially acceptable forms of littering left.

Oh, and did i forget to mention? “Cigarette butts contain carcinogens that can leach into soil, and chemicals that are poisonous to wildlife, threatening to contaminate water sources.” 

And, “Contrary to popular belief, cigarette filters are not biodegradable. They’re made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that absorbs tobacco “tar” and eventually breaks down in the environment, but never loses its toxicity and can poison essential links in the aquatic food chain.”

Watch this awesome video by Legacy for some serious perspective: (pun intended)

So, What can we do?


1. Hold ourselves accountable– Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground! THE END! EW!

(Need help quitting? Check out FREE counseling and resources! )

2. Make sure that people who smoke have access to proper receptacles to dispose of butts- Talk to owners of local bars and businesses and encourage them to provide trash cans or cigarette disposal places outside their venues. Encourage your community to provide trash cans and cigarette-butt receptacles in parks and on shopping streets.

3. Remind others– A gentle “Oh, I think there’s a trash can over there” will remind people not to throw their butts on the ground.

4. Volunteer with your local awesome tobacco-control folks/Public Health groups/environmental groups– to pick up litter in your community

5. Be a trendsetter– Carry a small plastic bag (and a plastic glove for the ickiness factor) with you when you’re in the outdoors to pick up butts and other micro trash that you encounter.

6. Support policy that addresses this issue from a environmental and social standpoints-Check out this grant program for communities to reduce toxic pollution, The Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, an article on the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste, and Policy Tools by the Tobacco Control legal Consortium. 

7. Educate yourself and others– Spread the word! 

These toxins don’t just go away…they leach into the ground or are ingested by animals

Check out these other websites and resources:

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, and is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands. (Check it out at

Make sure there are receptacles for cigarette butts

Download Legacy’s factsheet on cigarette litter

A pocket ashtray! A little bit icky perhaps, but super responsible!

Billions of Pieces of Toxic Trash are Leaching Deadly Chemicals

No butts: The campaign to reduce, recycle cigarette waste

The Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butt Waste Factsheet

Resources · social media · Tobacco Policy

Upcoming webinar about CDC’s unveiling of “Talk with your doctor” sub-campaign- register today!

New Network Logo Symbol 3-2011
The Network for LGBT Health Equity 
Bringing you awesome Webinars and keeping you in the know! 


A new feature of the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign was unveiled this week— “Talk With Your Doctor” (TWYD). The goal of this phase of the campaign is to engage health care providers and encourage them to use Tips as an opportunity to start a dialogue with their patients who smoke about quitting. It is also meant to serve as a reminder for smokers to talk with their healthcare providers about effective methods to help them quit.

As you may remember from our press release about the Tips campaign, “One of the ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ ads features a lesbian who suffers from asthma triggered by working in a smoke filled bar. Recently released data from the CDC shows that LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates that are nearly 70% higher than the general population.” This new phase of the campaign is yet another amazing way to reach out to our communities about this huge disparity!

On Thursday, June 13th, The Network will be teaming up with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) and CenterLink to bring you a webinar discussing the “Talk With Your Doctor” campaign, and the impact that it will have on the health of LGBT communities.

Join us at 2pm EST by registering HERE!

TTYD Campaign Webinar Flyer


LGBT folks share their quit tips

New Network Logo Symbol 3-2011


Network for LGBT Health Equity
Celebrating Spring with some fierce quit tips! 



national network webist pic

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is one of six national Networks working to reduce tobacco-related disparities in priority populations.

APPEAL, Break Free Alliance, NAATPN, NLTCNKeep it Sacred and (yours truly) the Network for LGBT Health Equity, represent populations that have higher rates of tobacco use and tobacco related illness. Under the umbrella of the Center for Disease Control,  these Networks identify, explain, address, and reduce these disparities.

With the recent roll-out of the second phase of the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign, the National Networks wanted to highlight tips from members of our communities who have quit as well!

Seven fabulous LGBT people volunteered their stories and tips for quitting! You can see them all on the National Network’s site!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the tips. Click on the name to read their whole story:

Anya (200x142)


“Set achievable goals for yourself and reward yourself when you reach them. Make it a positive experience for yourself!”



Erin (200x142)


“Find a quitting buddy– if there are two or more of you trying to quit, then you can motivate each other.”



Jessica (200x142)

“I publicly announced that I quit smoking (on Facebook), so that I would have to be held accountable.”




Martini (200x142)

“A medical professional told me it was not a matter of “if”, but “when” I would get emphysema. I chose a quit date and ended my addiction soon after.”



Icon_2011 Headshot

“Reach out for support — I found it helpful to share in my journey on Facebook and use the positive feedback of friends and family for encouragement and motivation to keep going.”


“Know you are worth the effort and can achieve freedom from the tobacco dependence.” – Stuart

Tiffany (200x142)


“I had to accept that I could never be a social smoker again.”


SRNT · Uncategorized

SRNT POSTER WATCH: Are Sexual and gender minorities stressed out and smoking?

Jane McElroy, PhD
Family and Community Medicine Department
Office of Medical Research
University of Missouri-Columbia



The purpose of this study was to characterize stress levels in the sexual and gender minority (SGM) population using Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale. Data were collected at Missouri pride festivals and online during the summer and fall of 2012 with over 3700 SGM participants. Consistent to other study results, SGM population reported smoking rates that were almost twice (40%) that of the Missouri population (22%). The SGM participants had a statistically significantly higher average stress score than the general population. The average stress scores in the SGM population showed almost no variability when evaluating stress by age group, by race, by ethnicity, by gender, by smoking status, or for SGM smokers by intention to quit status. These results suggest smoking may be utilized less as a coping strategy for stress and more as a part of cultural behavior.

Click image to see full poster!



Conferences · SRNT · Tobacco Policy

“My Name is Sherrill and I’m a Recovering Smoker”

Icon_2011 Headshot
Sherrill Wayland, MSW
Metro St. Louis

“My Name is Sherrill and I’m a Recovering Smoker”

This was my opening comment for the “Voices of Community Partners” Panel, during the Community Engagement to Address Tobacco-related Health Disparities Pre-Conference at SRNT.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be asked to speak on a panel regarding smoking cessation programs, I would have laughed out loud. As a year ago, I was smoking a pack a day and on a really bad day maybe two. Fast forward a year and March 26th marks my one year anniversary of being tobacco free thanks to the Missouri Out, Proud and Healthy Project and the SAGE Metro St. Louis Smoking Cessation program.

Many of the health disparities prevalent in minority communities can be directly linked to smoking. Represented in the host of speakers during the pre-conference were institutional researchers and community partners working with minority communities including Native American, African American, East Asian Youth, HIV and LGBT communities. The common theme heard over and over was the importance of building collaborative relationships between research institutions and community based organizations based on trust and open communication. The community partners have a unique position to bring cultural understanding to the forefront of health disparities work. The research institutions bring invaluable resources through grant funds, technical assistance and capacity building. These collaborations empower community based organizations to deliver critical services to minority communities for addressing health disparities which would often not be possible without the support of research institutions.

SAGE Metro St. Louis is grateful for the work of the Out, Proud and Healthy Project from the University of Missouri – Columbia for the work they are doing to address health disparities within the LGBT community. Through building partnerships such as these, we can leverage our resources, conduct cutting edge research and most importantly, deliver services to the LGBT community designed to decrease health disparities which have historically been overlooked.

In closing, I encourage community based organizations to reach out in your communities to your research institutions and offer your support and partnership for the important work of community based research. It just might save a life!


SRNT Poster Watch: Tobacco Use Among LGBT Atlantans

New Network Logo Symbol 3-2011
The Network for LGBT HEalth Equity
Makin’ sure you don’t miss a THING…




Drum roll please! We are excited to present to you a poster from Georgia State University, Division of Respiratory Health (and check out the great the skeleton image)!


Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are increasingly aware that disproportionately high smoking rates severely impact the health of their communities. Motivated to make change, a group of LGBT community members, policy makers, and researchers from Atlanta carried out a community-based participatory research project.

Objectives: The research sought to identify recommendations for culturally relevant smoking prevention and cessation interventions that could improve the health of Atlanta’s LGBT communities.

Methods: Incorporating a mixed-method approach, the project included four focus groups with 36 participants, a 20-item questionnaire completed by 685 people, and a community meeting with 30 participants.

Results: Among participants, the most favored interventions were: providing LGBT-specific cessation programs, raising awareness about LGBT smoking rates, and getting community venues to go smoke-free. Participants also suggested providing reduced-cost cessation products for low-income individuals, using LGBT “role models” to promote cessation, and ensuring that interventions reach all parts of the community.

Conclusions: Findings reinforce insights from community-based research with other marginalized communities. Similarities include the importance of tailoring cessation programs for specific communities, the need to acknowledge differences within these communities, and the significance of community spaces such as bars in shaping discussion of cessation. At the level of practice, this study highlights the need for heightened awareness. More specifically, the Atlanta LGBT community is largely unaware that high smoking rates affect its health, and is unlikely to take collective action to address the problem until the community understands the negative health impact.


SRNT Poster watch: An Examination of poly-tobacco use in sexual and gender minority individuals

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Real-time reporting from SRNT
brought to you by your trusty Network




As you may know, the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 19th Annual International Meeting is taking place this week in Boston! We wanted to give a shout-out to some of our friends (and heroes) in LGBT Tobacco Control who will be presenting posters, and for those of you who won’t be able to be at the conference, a chance to see their work!

One of the main goals of the network (and this blog) is to link people with information. We are really excited that there is such an array of LGBT tobacco information at SRNT this year, and we thank all of the folks who have shared their posters and presentations with us!

Here is one of the first posters that is being presented at SRNT right now! (click the image to enlarge!)

SRNT 2013 Polytobacco Use of SGM Poster

Action Alerts · Data · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED

Action Alert ***Support Data Collection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Clinical Settings***

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity


Hello Everyone,

Long story short we are all pushing for and/or understand the importance of comprehensive inclusion of LGBT communities in all surveillance instruments through sexual orientation and gender identity measures. Currently the Health Information Technology Policy Committee is seeking comments on supporting the sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in Stage 3 Meaningful Use Guidelines.

By the Close of Business day we are hoping to get as many CEO’s and Directors of Organizations, Foundations etc. to sign on to a letter developed by the Fenway Institute and the Center for American Progress.

Can we count on your support….?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Plese Support Today

Click Here To Directly Sign Onto The Letter

Click Here To View The Full Blog & Letter

Summit · Uncategorized

A SHIFT happened in Minnesota

Brian Davis, Project Director of Freedom From Tobacco
Scholarship Blogger, Summit 2012 reflections
A SHIFT happened in Minnesota

What a great presentation yesterday at the LGBTQ Health Equity Summit from the inspired youth of SHIFT Minnesota!  SHIFT is run by and for LGBTQ youth, so they know that the best way to speak to other youth is through direct “not sugar coated” language (as one attendee put it).  Here’s their mission statement:

“SHIFT charges forth on our valiant steeds and molds healthier LGBTQ* communities by severing ties with corporate tobacco through education, advocacy, and power-punching policy. We work in solidarity with all marginalized communities to fight against the ruthless, manipulative corporate tobacco agenda in the Twin Cities area.”
Now that’s a mission statement!  The vision statement is even better.  It starts with “We need to be angry because corporate tobacco wants to kill us.”  You can find and enjoy the rest here:

Two things about their project really struck me.  First — the name, SHIFT, is brilliant.  It gets to the heart of what all of us are trying to do in Queer tobacco control, which is to create a shift of consciousness in our community away from the embracing of smoking as part of who we are — as one of a list of “freedoms” that we are grabbing for ourselves despite society’s condemnation — and toward an understanding that smoking is a symptom of homophobia that tobacco companies capitalize upon at our expense and exclusively for their gain.

Secondly, I noticed that they always put “corporate” and “tobacco” together.  This is similar to the way Native American tobacco control groups make a distinction between “commercial” and “sacred” tobacco.  Their objective in doing this, as they explained, is to make spaces tobacco-free but warm and inviting to smokers.  They want smokers to know that SHIFT is not about pushing people to quit, but about making people aware of what corporate tobacco is doing to our community.

Oh, and one more thing — they do a great job of creating artwork that gets the point across in a creative and fun way.