Smoking Within the LGBT Community


[MUSIC] [NARRATOR] Smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans smoke at much higher rates than average so they suffer more smoking related death and illness. Dr. Scout directs the Network for LGBT Health Equity at CenterLink. Here, he talks about what smoking does to LGBT communities. [Dr. SCOUT] Unfortunately, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people don’t even realize that we smoke more than other populations and at the same time, the tobacco control movement often doesn’t realize we do too. As the next generation comes out and tries to find their leaders they see people who are smoking and it keeps, you know, really like a socially transmitted disease. While many of us are really outraged, a lot of us do not understand that we even have a disparity. [NARRATOR] The tobacco industry has a long history of marketing to the LGBT community. [Dr. SCOUT] There’s a lot of community gratitude for the tobacco industry which has moved in early and swiftly to be LGBT community supporters. We also saw the tobacco industry spending more money on telling us how great they were with our rights and issues than they were even spending on supporting us. We’ve seen the industry twist our civil rights issues to look like that freedom to smoke is like civil rights for LGBT people. We also really need the regular tobacco control programs to routinely include LGBT tailored work. I mean, we have a huge history of discrimination against us in the healthcare arena which means that we’re not going to trust you unless you prove that you’re different than the history. So if we see the policy makers prioritize LGBT tobacco stuff, that will be one of the best ways to help the community realize that get educated, respond, and build the infrastructure as well. [NARRATOR} This video is a production of the Office of the Surgeon General and CDC’s office on Smoking and Health.