No Better Time Than June for LGBT Americans to Take Pride in Lung Health

(June 3, 2011)

June is national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. In recognizing this event, the American Lung Association urges LGBT community members to take pride in their health by quitting smoking or encouraging their friends to do so.

“Tobacco use is a pervasive threat to the LGBT community that must be addressed,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “This month is the perfect time to confront this health disparity head on by raising awareness and encouraging LGBT smokers to quit smoking for good.”

Confronting the Disparity
Last year, the Lung Association released a health disparity report, Smoking Out a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community, which examines the trend of higher tobacco use among the LGBT community than in the general public. Key facts highlighted in the report are alarming:

  • Gay, bisexual, or transgender males are 2.0 to 2.5 times more likely to smoke than heterosexual men.
  • Lesbian, bisexual, or transgender females are 1.5 to 2.0 times more likely to smoke than heterosexual females.
  • Bisexual boys and girls have some of the highest smoking rates when compared to homosexual and heterosexual peers.

The Lung Association's report also 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.

“While there are a number of reasons for this disparity, one immediate step the country can take is to help LGBT smokers to make the personal decision to quit,” said Connor. “The American Lung Association is committed to helping LGBT individuals defeat their nicotine addiction through proven programs like Freedom From Smoking® Online.”

Here to Help
The American Lung Association has several programs that help tens of thousands of smokers take the big step of quitting each year. Freedom From Smoking® provides a personalized step-by-step quit plan and is offered online (www.ffsonline.org) 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.  Smoking cessation support, lung cancer treatment information and additional resources are available at www.LungUSA.org.