Did you know that smoking rates in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community are about 50% higher than the general population?
Common reasons LGBTIQ people list for taking up smoking include the additional and unique stresses they may be forced to deal with, such as social stigma, discrimination, lack of acceptance by loved ones, and physical and non-physical abuse. LGBTIQ people also experience higher rates of mental illness than the national average (most commonly depression and anxiety), which often occurs alongside higher rates of smoking.
But there’s another historic factor that has boosted the smoking rates amongst LGBTIQ people.
Big Tobacco targeted the LGBTIQ community
Big Tobacco infiltrated the LGBTIQ community back in the ‘90s, buying up advertising in their magazines, sponsoring Pride events, donating to LGBTIQ foundations and giving away freebies in bars and clubs. Then there was the infamous ‘Project Scum’. Believe it or not, this was the real name for a campaign in ‘95 aimed specifically at increasing smoking rates amongst gay men and homeless people in California.
While it seemed like Big Tobacco were a great supporter of LGBTIQ people, in reality, they took advantage of a group of people who are still carrying this unfair burden today.
LGBTIQ people have come too far to be held back by smoking. Quitting is tough, but it’s not impossible.
So what now?
First, download the free My QuitBuddy app and explore our website for ways to quit.
If you’re a LBQ woman, check out this awesome campaign, Smoke Free, Still Fierce.
Want more? Call the Quitline or check in with your GP for personalised advice and find some support online for reminders of how good smoke free life can be: