Post submitted by Shane Snowdon, former HRC Director, Health & Aging Program
HRC recently partnered with American Legacy Foundation, the nation’s largest tobacco control group, to present a groundbreaking discussion of why LGBT people use tobacco far more than most other Americans. Today, Legacy released a disturbing study finding that LGB young adults, aged 18 to 34, are much likelier to smoke than their heterosexual counterparts.
The Legacy study indicates that 35% of lesbian and gay young adults and 31% of bisexual young adults currently use tobacco, compared with 22% of heterosexual young adults in a nationally representative sample. The Legacy survey did not ask about gender identity, but the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found a 30% smoking rate among transgender respondents of all ages.
The Legacy findings echo those of the most recent National Adult Tobacco Survey from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which showed that LGBT Americans smoke nearly 70% more than other Americans. An American Journal of Public Healtharticle analyzing the CDC survey found that 33% of LGBT people smoke cigarettes, compared to 20% of the general population. Going beyond research, the CDC this month rolled out a new LGBT-inclusive campaign, Tips from Former Smokers.
At the recent discussion co-led by HRC, Legacy released both a report on LGBT tobacco use and a powerful video on LGBT smoking. In addition, a wealth of LGBT tobacco-related information is available from the Network for LGBT Health Equity. As Network director Scout has noted, “It’s clearer than ever that tobacco use is one of the largest single health burdens on the LGBT community. On a daily level, this means smoking and secondhand smoke are taking our health and, too often, our lives.”