Every try counts!
Do you know that LGBT people are more likely to smoke than almost any other population group in the United States? Being around other smokers can make it more difficult for people in our communities to quit. But many of us are trying, and better information on how to quit and support with staying quit can help. The following points are taken from a variety of materials, with specific focus on this might be different for us.
The 123 of Stopping Smoking
1) Quitting smoking is HARD but millions have QUIT!
- Tobacco is one of the most highly addictive substances around us. In the words of one LGBT health researcher, “This is much harder to kick than heroin.”
- Don’t underestimate the challenge! It’s better to slow down and prepare a quit attempt than race ahead.
- Every try counts! Every time you try to quit, you reverse some of the damages of smoking and you learn something new that makes it easier the next time.
2) Cold turkey is rarely a good choice.
- Yes, it works for some… but only about one in ten who try. You can double or triple your chances of staying quit by combining strategies. If you sign up for either phone coaches or in person through the Vermont State Quit Network, you are eligible for free nicotine replacement - gum, patches or lozenges - when you use the service, and it's shipped directly to your home.
3) Slow down and learn about how to do it more successfully. Practice leads to success!
Some key things to know...
Social support really affects us…
- With more people smoking in the LGBT communities, we’re more likely to have smokers around us – and this can make it harder to stop.
- Our friends are especially important, and the social support they provide offsets stress we experience as a result of being LGBTQ.
Quitting smoking is a process…
- In any given year, 70% of all smokers try to quit. But it rarely happens their first time; most people try 7-8 times before they succeed at quitting.
- Be gentle on yourself as you start this process. It’s been proven that every single quit attempt moves you closer to a final success! The longer it lasts, the more it helps.
- A piece of quitting smoking is about fighting the addiction, another piece is about changing a deeply engrained habit. This can affect many different (sometimes unexpected) parts of your life.
Still need more? Think about how we’ve been targeted.
- LGBT people have been successfully targeted by tobacco companies…
- Tobacco companies offer an unknown amount of financial support to LGBT festivals, bars, media, and local organizations. As early supporters of LGBT causes, the Tobacco companies garnered appreciative community response, since many other funders avoided LGBT issues.
- They may target us, but they don’t respect us. An early Tobacco industry document described a plan for increasing sales among San Francisco’s gay and homeless populations. It was titled “Project SCUM”.
- Tobacco industry funding can compromise anti-tobacco activities by LGBT community organizations. For example, while major TV networks refused to air an ad exposing “Project SCUM”, it was hard for GLAAD to fight back, because they were taking tobacco industry money in support of their annual gala.
And look at how it’s paid off for them…
- LGBT people are 40-70% more likely to smoke than non-LGBT people. This is one of the highest smoking rates, even out of all the disproportionately affected subpopulations.
- LGBT adolescents are taking up smoking at an alarming rate. In a recent national study 45% of females and 35% of males who reported same-sex attraction or behavior smoked. In comparison, only 29% of the rest of the youth smoked.