- Throughout the month of June, the American Lung Association in New York is encouraging members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to honor national LGBT Pride Month by focusing on their health-particularly by quitting smoking or encouraging their friends to do so.
According to Smoking Out a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community, a health disparity report released by the American Lung Association last year, LGBT Americans smoke at a much higher rate than the general public. "While the tobacco use is a problem that adversely affects the health of far too many Americans, the smoking rate within the LBGT community is particularly troublesome," said Irwin Berlin
, MD, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York. "As we observe national LGBT Pride Month, it seems a fitting time to not only raise awareness about this health disparity, but encourage members of the LGBT community who use tobacco to make an attempt to quit once and for all. Quitting smoking is one of the best things people can do to improve their health and extend their lives. The Lung Association is committed to helping all smokers who want to quit be successful."
The Lung Association's report examines the trend of higher tobacco use among the LGBT community and the need for additional research specific to decreasing smoking rates among this community. Key facts highlighted in the report include the following:
• Gay, bisexual and transgender men are 2.0 to 2.5 times more likely to smoke than heterosexual men.
• Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are 1.5 to 2.0 times more likely to smoke than heterosexual women.
• Bisexual boys and girls have some of the highest smoking rates when compared with both their heterosexual and homosexual peers.
The report also presents a compilation of research that examines possible contributing factors to the LGBT smoking rate including stress and discrimination related to homophobia, the tobacco industry's targeted marketing to LGBT consumers, and lack of access to culturally appropriate tobacco treatment programs.
"As we continue to work to reduce this health disparity, we want members of the LGBT community who smoke to know that we're here to help them quit," said Dr. Berlin. "We have proven programs, like Freedom From Smoking Online, that have helped many individuals quit smoking for good."
The American Lung Association has several programs that help tens of thousands of smokers take the big step toward quitting each year. Freedom From Smoking provides a personalized step-by-step quit plan and is offered online or as a group clinic to help smokers work through the problems and process of quitting. The Lung HelpLine, 1-800-LUNG-USA, provides smoking cessation counseling and one-on-one support from registered nurses and respiratory therapists.
For more information, click here.