LGBTQ people smoke at twice the rate of straight people, a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher notes in a paper that offers five ideas to reduce the trend.
The paper, produced by a team led by UIC clinical psychologist Phoenix Matthews, said LGBTQ people are “at an elevated risk for tobacco related health disparities due to disproportionately high rates of tobacco use.”
Around 46 percent of gay men and 48 percent of adult lesbians smoke, according to the National Institutes for Health.
Many anti-smoking programs target specific ages, ethnicities and gender — but not sexual orientation, Matthews said in a press release about the paper, published in June by the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Cessation services, such as tobacco quit lines, “are underused by LGBT smokers,” Matthews added.
Matthews recommends that smoking surveys include gays and lesbians specifically and that anti-smoking media campaigns include messages that target them. In addition, the paper urges reducing menthol-flavored cigarettes, which are favored by young smokers, and creating a national clean air act aimed reducing second hand smoke.