January 16, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Big Queer Convo Takes on Tobacco Smoking Plight LGBTQ+ Community Faces

New findings from #Out4Mental Health Statewide Community Survey and UCLA’s LGBTQ Tobacco Study interviews show how factors including homophobia and stigma influence tobacco use among LGBTQ Californians. 

Even though tobacco use has drastically decreased among Americans over the past 50+ years, tobacco use and tobacco-related deaths are still disproportionately higher for LGBTQ+ identifying people.

Each year on every third Thursday in November, The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout encourages tobacco users to quit for one day. 

PICTURED ABOVE – On November 21 for the Smokeout, advocates and health experts gathered at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza Courtyard at the Los Angeles LGBT Center to call out tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death in the LGBTQ+ Community at a Big Queer Convo community forum.

The event featured a panel discussion featuring: Myron Quon (He/Him) Moderator | Executive Director, NAPAFASA; Dr. Michael Ong (He/Him) Professor in Residence of Medicine & Health Policy and Management, UCLA; Katy Berteau (She/Her) Research Project Coordinator, Department of Social Welfare (UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs); Bambi Salcedo (She/Her) President, TransLatin@ Coalition; Ebony Harper (She/Her) Director, The National Alliance for Trans Liberation and Advancement; Isaias Guzman (He/Him) LGBTQ Organizer, California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network. 

Cigarette smoking among the LGBTQ community in the U.S. is higher than among straight individuals, according to the CDC. About 1 in 5 LGBTQ adults smoke cigarettes, compared to 1 in 6 straight adults. It is estimated that LGBTQ+ people make up approximately 3 percent of the total U.S. population.

Statewide and local initiatives, such as The OUT Against BIG Tobacco Coalition, are currently advocating for common sense policies that protect LGBTQ people – especially the most vulnerable members of our community — from Big Tobacco’s predatory tactics.

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