High Prevalence of Tobacco Use & Nicotine Dependence in LGBTs

Work of The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity Spotlighted by Tobacco Foundation

Legacy has released a report entitled LGBT Communities & Tobacco Use.  This is the twelfth publication in Legacy’s dissemination series. It calls attention to the issue of the high prevalence of tobacco use and nicotine dependence in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) communities in the United States and examines socio-cultural facets of tobacco use and tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among LGBT individuals. It also includes four examples of promising projects implemented by Legacy’s past grantees to address the high prevalence of tobacco use and tobacco-related disparities in this population, including The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity.

The release of the Legacy report will be complimented by a video titled Tobacco Control in LGBT Communities, which looks at tobacco use among the LGBT population through personal stories and expert insights from Scout, PhD, Director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity and others.  There will also be a webcast at 3:30 p.m. EDT titled Tobacco Use in the LGBT Communities: Why LGBT People Smoke So Much & What Can Be Done About It and Scout will be one of a panel of experts featured.  You can get more information about the panelists and view the webcast online here.

The three-pronged release represents one of the largest spotlights ever shone on LGBT tobacco use by a major tobacco control organization.  A recent article in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed nationally representative survey results and found that LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates that are nearly 70 percent higher than the general population. Legacy is committed to raising awareness of the high prevalence of tobacco use within these communities and highlighting solutions to address it.

Individual projects at the grassroots level have succeeded in shifting some norms within the LGBT community. Some of these projects are detailed as case studies in the report.

  • Leave No Funds Behind: Bridging the Gap Between LGBT Organizations and Tobacco Control Funding: The Network for LGBT Health Equity worked with Legacy to create a project called “Leave No Funds Behind,” to create a national database and toolkits and provide technical assistance and training in order to establish a bridge between LGBT organizations and tobacco control funders.
  • CRUSH: The LGBT Lifestyle Project: CRUSH was an experiential marketing campaign by the Southern Nevada Health District Tobacco Control Program designed to address tobacco disparities among LGBT populations in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Delicious Lesbian Kisses: A Social Marketing Campaign with Staying Power: The National Lesbian Health Organization (Mautner Project) designed the campaign to address tobacco disparities among women over the age of 40 by promoting the idea that nonsmoking women were sexier and more fun to kiss through posters and launch events in five cities across the United States.
  • 30 Seconds: Helping Health Care Providers Reach LGBT Tobacco Users: The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association created an online Continuing Medical Education (CME) course for health care providers to teach culturally tailored strategies for conducting Brief Tobacco Interventions with LGBT patients.

Legacy is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.  The Foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use. We want to help all young people reject tobacco, and give everyone access to tobacco prevention and cessation services.

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is a community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by eliminating tobacco use, and other health disparities within our communities. We are one of six CDC-funded tobacco disparity networks and a project of The Fenway Institute in Boston.

For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

[From a news release]

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