Manchester’s LGBT Foundation is teaming up with leading health professionals working in tobacco control in a bid to ‘bring smoking out of the closet’.
Smoking is much more popular in the LGBT community than the general population, making lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people more likely to suffer from smoking-related illness.
But there are no ‘stop smoking’ campaigns, support services, or health information tailored for this community when, in fact, reasons for smoking often differ a great deal from those of non LGBT people.
Social stresses of being LGBT, discrimination, and the image of smoking still being seen as fashionable on the gay scene are some of the reasons for high smoking prevalence in the community.
Chief executive Paul Martin OBE said: “Research shows that specifically tailored smoking cessation programmes are likely to be effective for those who identify as LGBT and those that are HIV positive.
“They can target otherwise overlooked reasons for smoking – for example homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and stigmatisation.”
Public Health England’s latest research shows that 20% of heterosexual men smoke compared to 25% of gay men, 26% of bisexual men, and 21% of other men who have sex with men.
Transgendered people are also more likely to smoke cigarettes regularly compared to all other survey respondents, according to health organisation The Rainbow Project’s All Partied Out survey.
LGB people over 16-years-old are more likely to be current smokers, less likely to have never smoked, and less likely to have given up smoking than the general population.
And two thirds of lesbian and bisexual women have smoked compared to half of women in general, and just over a quarter are active smokers.
To try to lower the level of smoking in the community, LGBTF is hosting a meeting with health professionsals, working for tobacco control organisations and stop smoking campaigns, on Friday August 14.
Mr Martin added: “‘Bringing Smoking Out of The Closet’ will look at LGBT attitudes to smoking and what organisations working in tobacco control can do to better support LGBT people.”
The event will take place from 10am-2pm, with lunc included, at LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF on Friday August 14.
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