The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially launched their new This Free Life campaign to shift the conversation about smoking in the LGBT Community. While smoking is an issue that is not often discussed in our community, it has a profound impact on our community, particularly when we are talking about LGBT Youth.
“We know LGBT young adults in this country are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults, says Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
On hand for the launch was Dr. Scout from Healthlink, a program of the CenterLink, the National Association of LGBT Community Centers. Scout provided valuable information to the FDA on best practices with regards to reaching the LGBT Community and was one of many LGBT communty members who provided feedback on the campaign, which was market tested with over 1,000 LGBT Youth.
“There are a number of factors that contribute to the higher risk for tobacco use among LGBT young adults. The coming out process is a unique tobacco-use risk factor for LGBT young adults due to the actual and perceived social stigma, discrimination and anxiety experienced during this process. And data show that the coming out process faced by most LGBT young adults can lead to tobacco use and negative health consequences.
Research also indicates that many LGBT young adults can find a sense of community at LGBT bars and clubs which sometimes provides environments conducive to tobacco use.
“This Free Life” launches in 12 markets this week using print, digital and out-of-home ads, as well as outreach at the local level to showcase tobacco-free behaviors and attitudes within the LGBT Community. The $35.7 million campaign is funded by user fees collected from the tobacco industry.