June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, an annual celebration of LGBT equality. And while we are happy to celebrate the advances made towards LGBT rights and equality, we also take the time to look at what can still be done to eliminate LGBT discrimination and disparities.
One aspect of LGBT life that is often overlooked is health, especially in relation to tobacco use. LGBT individuals, who are more likely to face adversity related to social stigma and exclusion, are more likely to participate in risky behaviors, including tobacco use.
Here in Wisconsin, in 2015 the smoking rate for lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals was 27 percent compared to the state’s rate of 17 percent that year. Another reason that rate is so high is because tobacco companies have long targeted the LGBT community at bars, clubs and events.
The Wisconsin Hispanic Latino Tobacco Prevention Network (WHLTPN) has been working to bring attention to this targeting and also to the issue of smoking within the LGBT community by partnering with community groups and others who work with high-risk populations. The WHLTPN was also involved in local efforts to convince PrideFest organizers to say NO to big tobacco funding in 2018! To learn more about the WHLTPN please visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WHLTPN.
For those that are interested in quitting, the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit-Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) provides free quit tobacco assistance, regardless of orientation and identification. Please call today.