Home/ Fighting Tobacco Disparities in the Gay Community
Fighting Tobacco Disparities in the Gay Community
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons are 50% to 200% more likely to smoke than the rest of the population, according to the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network. That’s one of the highest smoking rates of any minority group in the U.S. In 2005, the American Cancer Society estimated that over 300,000 LGBT people die each year from tobacco-related diseases. Given the tobacco industry’s well-documented history of aggressively marketing its products to racial/ethnic minorities and women, it’s no surprise that Big Tobacco targets this community, too—e.g., by offering financial support to LGBT festivals, bars, media and local organizations.
Still another factor contributing to LGBT smoking disparities is a lack of anti-smoking interventions that are culturally tailored to this population. To help close that information gap, the Boston-based National LGBT Tobacco Control Network offers a wealth of culturally competent resources for both smokers and health care professionals. For example:
Fact sheets on topics like LGBT people and tobacco, smoking and HIV, and anti-tobacco community organizing.
Smoking cessation strategies and tips for smokers and clinicians.
A national directory of LGBT tobacco control professionals and projects.
An online resource library with links to LGBT tobacco control events, publications, research, Web sites and downloadable LGBT-friendly anti-smoking materials.
An annual LGBT Tobacco Summit that brings together tobacco control leaders from across the country to share solutions and best practices. This year’s summit will be held on June 9 in Phoenix, Arizona.
To further promote the sharing of information about what’s working in LGBT tobacco control efforts, the network publishes a quarterly newsletter, Sharing Our Lessons, that showcases successful model programs. A recent issue featured an in-depth case study of a Minnesota project that helped make the state’s tobacco quitlines more accessible to LGBT people.