Cigarette smoking is the most important high-risk behavior associated with chronic diseases and tobacco use is higher among gay men than it is among men in the general population. Likewise, lesbians have been found to smoke more than heterosexual women. Smoking is also likely to be higher among transgender persons, especially when risk factors like poverty, low education, a higher prevalence of injection use, stressful living and work environment and sexual risk patterns are taken into account. Since people below the poverty level are more likely to smoke the implications for the prevalence of smoking among LGBT individuals and families living in poverty is profound.
These high smoking rates increase the tobacco-related health problems among LGBT people: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and an increased risk for esophageal cancer are just some of the reasons why tobacco use is a problem. If you are L, G, B, or T and a smoker, you should seek prevention and treatment services. And it is the job of those who conduct cessation and treatment programs to provide culturally competent care to LGBT smokers. If the programs in your area do not do so, why not identify the source of their funding and determine the extent to which they are obligated to do so?
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