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Why the LGBTQ+ Community is Still Struggling with Smoking?

Health and Mental Health

Why the LGBTQ+ Community is Still Struggling with Smoking?

Recent data paints a grim picture: a staggering 64% of the community feels overlooked by current anti-smoking campaigns. But the issue runs deeper than mere representation.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are more likely to smoke than their heterosexual counterparts. The disparities are particularly pronounced for LGB women and bisexual men. This is concerning, especially when juxtaposed with the fact that mental health challenges, which are more prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community, correlate with smoking habits. Quitting, however, has its silver lining, being linked to reduced depression and an improved quality of life.

Alarmingly, data from 2017 found that 20% of men living with HIV in London smoke, a rate significantly higher than the general adult population. This poses additional health risks, including increased chances of developing certain cancers and respiratory diseases. Smoking also poses heightened risks during gender identity-related surgeries. While research on transgender individuals and smoking is limited, available surveys indicate that transgender people are more likely to smoke. Moreover, young LGB individuals tend to start smoking earlier and more heavily.

Haypp’s recent survey offers a deeper dive into these concerns. Only 36.40% believe that existing campaigns fit the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Non-binary respondents, in particular, feel the most sidelined. The younger generation, aged 16-24, is slightly more optimistic than their older counterparts, but the optimism is still low. Regionally, the South West feels the most catered to, while the North East feels the least represented.

In Manchester, a city known for its LGBTQ+ inclusivity, only 41.67% feel that campaigns address their needs. Concerns raised include a lack of representation, ineffective messaging, minimal collaboration with LGBTQ+ organizations, and a void of initiatives during Pride season. Additionally, the neglect of the higher menthol cigarette usage in the community is a significant concern.

Beyond these statistics, the LGBTQ+ community faces societal inequalities that can exacerbate smoking initiation and addiction. For instance, young LGBT individuals have a higher likelihood of homelessness, and a shocking 77% of homeless people smoke. The community’s higher rates of mental ill health and illegal drug use further intertwine with elevated smoking rates.

Despite these challenges, the LGBTQ+ community often reports limited access to health services, emphasizing the need for better communication and involvement in their healthcare. Amidst these challenges, Haypp, a leading retailer of tobacco-free alternatives, recognises the community’s unique struggles. Their commitment to offering tailored advice and solutions for the LGBTQ+ demographic suggests a beacon of hope in an otherwise challenging landscape.

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