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Landmark Study On Smoking And The LGBT Community Released

In conjunction with the release of the new Surgeon General's report, Health Consequence of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, the CenterLink Network for LGBT Health Equity has debuted its landmark report on smoking in the gay community. 

A press release explains methodology and findings:

With the advent of data from the National Adult Tobacco Survey, the Network for LGBT Health Equity has been able to model the estimated money the U.S. LGBT communities spend on cigarettes every year. After factoring in LGBT prevalence and smoking rates, the Network reports the LGBT communities spent $7.9 million dollars per year on their top health burden, smoking. This is 65 times as much money as the Funders for LGBTQ Issues report all foundations spend on LGBT funding.

“It’s a brutal truth” says the Network’s Director, Dr. Scout, “We’re spending more on something that kills us than everyone else is spending to help us.” LGBT smoking disparities have been documented with a series of studies over several decades, but the 2012 National Adult Tobacco Survey marked the first time a national surveillance instrument reported LGBT smoking prevalence. In that survey, 32.8% of LGBT respondents smoked, versus 19.5% of others.

“LGBT people smoke at rates that are 68% higher than the general population,” notes Dr. Scout, “and the 50 years of Surgeon General’s reports just show us how effectively lethal tobacco is.”

“The LGBT communities have an excellent health infrastructure, but when you ask our leaders about our top health issues, smoking is rarely even in the list. It really is time for smoking to come out of the closet as the top issue health issue affecting LGBT people today” says Dr. Scout.

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“LGBT people, people of color, the poor; tobacco preys on stigma and too often we pay with our lives.” says Dr. Phoenix Matthews, a tobacco researcher at University of Illinois at Chicago and Network member. “I hope this number shocks people enough so we start building tobacco control into all of our communities’ health programs.”