American Lung Association Encourages LGBT Community Members to Take Pride in Their Health

Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2011)

Throughout June, the American Lung Association 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.

“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.”

The 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 Lung Association's 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.

“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.”

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.

###

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.