SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are among the biggest users of tobacco, according to a recently released report.
The American Lung Association's latest health disparity report, Smoking Out a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community, examined the trend of higher tobacco use among the LGBT community and the need for additional research specific to that demographic.
The study indicates the LGBT population smokes at a higher rate than the general public. Data show that gay, bisexual and transgender men are up to 2.5 times more likely to smoke than heterosexual men. Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are up to twice as likely to smoke as straight women.
While most state and national health surveys do not collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity, local advocates agree there is a problem in the Utah LGBT community.
"We've known that this has been an issue in our community for a long time," said Jennifer Nuttall, director of Adult Programs with the Utah Pride Center.
Based in Salt Lake City, the Pride Center is a not-for-profit organization that provides support, education, outreach and advocacy for the LGBT community.
She said the Pride Center has recently received approval for a five-year grant from the Utah Department of Health to fund outreach to the LGBT community to address and mitigate the tobacco use disparity.
"(The grant will be used) to formulate a plan on how we can start to … educate our community and help them make the connections between tobacco and how (companies) target the LGBT community with their marketing," Nuttall said.
"We are definitely taking the steps necessary … to bring awareness to our community."
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