Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. According to the CDC, 20.5% of LGB adults smoke cigarettes, compared to 15.3% of straight adults.
Garden State Equality has partnered with New Jersey’s Department of Health and its Office of Tobacco Control to identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities among the LGBTQ+ community. GSE’s goals are aligned with the four main goals of the National Tobacco Control Program, which are:
- Prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults.
- Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Promote quitting among adults and youth.
- Identify and eliminate tobacco‐related disparities among population groups.
In efforts to align with these goals, GSE is conducting a community-level ethnographic study to understand the level of tobacco use in New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ population, their inclination to change this behavior, knowledge, attitude, and belief systems at the grassroots level.
We have tasked ourselves with implementing evidence-based health communication interventions, including culturally competent media campaigns, education of health care professionals on the tobacco burden among LGBTQ+ people, especially youth, and training health professionals on how to appropriately screen, counsel, and refer LGBTQ+ youth and adults to cessation services.
Looking to quit smoking? Local resources include: