According to the American Lung Association, tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and disease. It is responsible for approximately 393,000 deaths each year. Tobacco is made up of over 4,000 chemicals, and at least 69 of them are known carcinogens. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are products so deadly, that they must have a warning printed on them disclosing their danger to you.
Despite this, many Americans smoke, at an estimated rate of 1 in 5, or 18 out of every 100 Americans. But did you know that according to smokefree, members of the LGBT community are almost twice as likely to smoke as straight Americans? While LGBT people make up about 4% of Americans, they are at a devastatingly higher risk of tobacco usage. As a result, at a drastically higher risk of cancer, lung disease, gum disease, and other horrible ailments that occur due to the use of tobacco.
But why is this? Most studies find that most LGBT Americans start smoking as teenagers, and it continues into adulthood. As teenagers, most struggle to find acceptance. This stress is one of the main reasons that teens turn to tobacco usage as a means to alleviate the problems that life seems to dump on them. But, the struggle to find acceptance in itself is also a contributor. Peer pressure mixed with a burning desire to be considered normal, to fit in, is another reason teens smoke. Tobacco is also being marketed towards younger audiences in media as a means to a calmer mind and a better life, without showing the after effects of its long term usage.
But how can you help yourself or a loved one resist the temptation of smoking? By keeping in mind the dangers of smoking, caring for yourself and your loved ones, and spreading awareness, you can help to lessen the amount of smoking in the lgbt community