Queer and Quitting

Addressing Smoking as an LGBTQ Issue

Authored by: Mara Aussendorf , Jamie Magee , Jeffrey Turner , Adrian Shanker

The Routledge Handbook of LGBTQIA Administration and Policy

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815366508
eBook ISBN: 9781351258807
Adobe ISBN:


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Tobacco is the number one preventable killer of LGBTQ people in the United States. LGBTQ people smoke at disproportionate rates compared to people that are both straight and cisgender. Despite this, tobacco use is not often seen as an LGBTQ issue. Health Promotion Council (HPC), the primary contractor for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project, collects data from tobacco dependency treatment class participants, who are area tobacco users seeking to quit. Project evaluators from Public Health Management Corporation’s Research & Evaluation Group analyzed survey data, finding that LGBTQ tobacco users and straight and cisgender tobacco users enter classes with similar tobacco use characteristics (e.g. number of days smoking in a week), but LGBTQ participants are significantly less likely to quit. Analysis reveals statistical differences in social determinants of tobacco use, including employment status and mental health conditions. HPC used evaluation data, other local data sources, and national data trends to inform strategic partnership-building with community-based LGBTQ organizations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. These partnerships led to creative outreach in gay bars, smoke-free Pride events, LGBTQ cultural competency training for tobacco dependency treatment facilitators, and referrals to the project’s classes. Work accomplished through these partnerships furthers the agenda of all organizations involved.

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