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How Tobacco Companies Harm the LGBTQ+ Community

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With summer coming to a close and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community under attack once again, our community also faces another foe that is less publicized but still extremely dangerous: tobacco companies masquerading as allies in order to addict us to their harmful products and grow their customer base.There’s a well-documented history of tobacco companies targeting Black communities with marketing for menthol cigarettes, causing disastrous public health consequences.

Lesser known is the insidious targeting of the LGBTQ+ community, which both harms overall health and contributes to health disparities in our community.According to the latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a quarter of lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults use at least one form of tobacco, compared to about 19 percent of straight adults (the CDC survey did not report data for transgender adults).

These higher rates extend across a range of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. Other research has found that 51 percent of lesbian or gay smokers and 46 percent of bisexual smokers use menthol cigarettes, companies to 39 percent of straight smokers.

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