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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 38
We're still puffing ourselves to death
Section One
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We're still puffing ourselves to death

CDC survey shows tobacco use higher among LGBT adults than in general population

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis of data from the 2009-10 National Adult Tobacco Survey, published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that with the exception of pipes, tobacco use was significantly higher among LGBT respondents when compared to the general population.

The survey found that 32.8% of LGBT people nationally smoke cigarettes; 12.2% smoke cigars, cigarillos, or small cigars; and 38.5% report using any tobacco. Among non-LGBT respondents, those rates fell to 19.5% for cigarettes, 6.6% for cigars/cigarillos/small cigars, and 25.2% for any tobacco use.

'These data provide the first national benchmark of adult LGBT tobacco use and we applaud the Office of Smoking and Health at CDC for their leadership in LGBT integration and data collection,' comments Dr. Scout, director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity. 'Unfortunately, these findings confirm the bad news that LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates 68% higher than the general population and that our overall tobacco use is 50% higher.'

'It's clearer than ever that tobacco use is one of the largest single health burdens on the LGBT community,' Scout continued. 'On a daily level, this means smoking and secondhand smoke is taking our health and too often, our lives. I look forward to the day when every tobacco control program includes LGBT-tailored work and every tobacco industry marketing program doesn't.'

Added Bill Blatt, the American Lung Association's director of tobacco control programs, 'The American Lung Association is happy to see that this report contains specific information on LGBT tobacco use. As we stated in our 2010 report on LGBT tobacco use, 'Smoking Out a Deadly Threat - Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community,' it's important that this type of data be collected among the LGBT community so we can target programs and funding appropriately to reduce the burden of tobacco use among this community and all disproportionately affected communities.'

'The LGBT communities have been advocating for health data collection for so long,' reports Terry Stone, executive director of CenterLink, the national association of LGBT community centers. 'It's great to finally see some results from that work. Even if the news is bad, it's better than being invisible.'

The 2009-10 National Adult Tobacco Survey is a national landline and cell-phone survey of adults aged 18 years and older to estimate current use of various tobacco products. The Network for LGBT Health Equity stratified estimates by gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, income, sexual orientation, and state of residence.

The Network for LGBT Health Equity at the Fenway Institute is a community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by eliminating tobacco use and other health disparities within our communities. It is one of six CDC-funded tobacco disparity networks.

For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the broader population. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education, and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway's Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center in Boston cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

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