Statistics released by the Surgeon General on Thursday reveal that the LGBT community spends an estimated $7.9 billion per year on cigarettes. The report — Health Consequence of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress –?uncovers startling information.
LGBT Americans spend more on cigarettes than all LGBT advocacy causes combined, according to new estimates provided to BuzzFeed Thursday by the Network for LGBT Health Equity.
?It’s a brutal truth,? said Dr. Scout, the network’s director, of the findings. ?We’re spending more on something that kills us than everyone else is spending to help us.? (Stats)
The?report details the harsh impacts of smoking across all segments of the population, and the unique problems with tobacco usage by the LGBT community didn’t surprise some LGBT advocates. Smoking is the biggest health problem faced by LGBT populations, but this reality often gets overshadowed by suicide, HIV prevention, and other serious concerns, according to Dr. Scout.
?We’ve known this for a while, and we’ve been trying to convince people that it’s a big deal,? Scout said. ?We [as a community] are actually good on health ? we do a lot of stuff to make ourselves better. So, it’s unusual that this this is missing from our narrative.? (Buzzfeed)
Click this graph to see the full size image:
Scout has some ideas as to how the goal of reduced smoking in the LGBT community can be met:
“In order to end the epidemic for the LGBT communities we need to break the cycle of smoking in front of our youth, because smoking for us really is a socially transmitted disease,” explains Scout, Ph.D. “When we smoke in packs we’re enticing every person near us to come on over, join the fun, and light up too. Then we need to offer LGBT-welcoming cessation to every person who smokes now. But the first step is clearly knowledge ? we have to know it’s our biggest killer before we can fight it. The LGBT community’s health infrastructure is actually excellent. I have great confidence once we take aim at tobacco, we will overcome it.” (The Advocate)
- Nearly 33% of LGBT Americans smoke
- They spend $7.9 billion on cigarettes per year
- Only 19.5% of the U.S. population at large smokes
- LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates 68% higher than the general population.
?It really is time for smoking to come out of the closet as the top issue health issue affecting LGBT people today.?
You can calculate the financial cost of smoking with the American Cancer Society calculator. Here is a video with a look at tobacco use in the LGBT population.