Smoking is still one of the world’s most infamous serial killers. According to the American Cancer Society, while lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer related deaths, it remains the leading cause of death among cancer patients, both male and female. Smoking is not completely biased when it comes to selecting a potential victim, any user will do. However, it does seem to prefer certain groups of people over others.
The DCC Center: for the LGBT community, suggests in one of their articles that the LGBT community smokes at an estimated rate of fifty to two hundred percent more than the general population. That’s an astronomical difference. But why are we more likely to smoke?
In order to raise awareness about smoking in the LGBT community, the American Lung Association put together a report that takes a deeper look at why tobacco seems to favor gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
In their report they suggest possible reasons why tobacco use seems to have a greater impact on the LGBT community, such as:
- Stresses of social stigma and discrimination
- Peer pressure
- Aggressive targeting of the LGBT community by tobacco companies
Additional reports back up the American Lung Association’s findings. According to the Center for Disease Control, substance abuse is just one of the many effects of society’s negative attitude toward homosexuals. The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network provides multiple links for tobacco advertisements specifically targeted toward LGBT consumers.
As sad as it is that LGBT adults are using tobacco products and even dying from tobacco related diseases at such an alarming rate, the problem does not stop with them. LGBT youth are also much more likely to take up smoking than their heterosexual peers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children will grow up facing similar homophobic discrimination as their adult counterparts, which can lead to increased stress that can lead to substance abuse, like smoking or drug use.
The stigma surrounding the LGBT community is changing, but not fast enough. The CDC’s website also states that an estimated forty-three percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian relationships are not acceptable. Raising awareness and removing homophobic stereotypes is the first step toward reducing the rate of tobacco related deaths among LGBT Americans.