LGBT Youth Speaks Out

Kevin Avila, LGBT Smoke-Free Project Intern at The Center

Kevin Avila, LGBT Smoke-Free Project Intern at The Center

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2011, smoking rates among lesbian and gay youth were over three times higher when compared with heterosexual youth.

The Coalition works with organizations, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Community Center (The Center) in NYC, to reduce LGBT smoking rates. A group of LGBT youth are working with The Center‘s LGBT Smoke-Free Project to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of tobacco among their peers and in their community.

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The LGBT Smoke-Free Project

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the LGBT community continues to smoke more than the U.S. general population. The results showed 32.8 percent of LGBT people nationally smoke cigarettes, compared to 19.5 percent for the general population.

“Unfortunately, these findings confirm the bad news that LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates 68 percent higher than the general population and that our overall tobacco use is 50 percent higher,” comments Dr. Scout, director of The Network for LGBT Health Equity.

Scout added: “It’s clearer than ever that tobacco use is one of the largest single health burdens on the LGBT community.”

Here in New York City, the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City has worked with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (the Center) for the past three years to raise awareness around secondhand smoke and tobacco marketing targeting youth.  Since the early 90s, the Center has been a true champion working to encourage adult smokers to quit through their LGBT SmokeFree Project.  The Coalition has partnered with the Center to raise awareness not only around the health implications of smoking, but how youth, particularly, LGBT youth, are targeted by tobacco companies to be their next generation of “replacement smokers.”

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