The Oklahoma County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition has launched a new effort to raise awareness of the dangers of using tobacco and to encourage members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to take advantage of resources such as the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.
“We're making a special effort to reach out to this community because smoking rates are so high,” said coalition member Robbinette Ramsey. “We want everyone to know that we are here to offer resources and support for everyone who wants to break free of tobacco.”
Oklahoma has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation, and the smoking rate in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is even higher. The result is an excess of heart disease, strokes and cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that tobacco use kills at least 30,000 gay and lesbian people each year in the United States.
According to the American Lung Association, “a growing body of evidence indicates that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are considerably more likely to use tobacco than the general population, with some studies estimating smoking rates as much as double the national average.”
“These high rates of smoking aren't surprising considering that the tobacco industry's marketing has deliberately targeted the gay and lesbian community for so many years,” Ramsey says.
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