Pride Month is celebrated every June to promote the dignity, equality and increased visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community. On June 3, TFC-DOS staff celebrated with the Otsego Pride Alliance at Oneonta PrideFest. 

Staff educated community members about the tobacco industry’s intentional efforts to increase tobacco product appeal to the LGBTQIA+ community. For more than 30 years, major tobacco companies have tried to present themselves as allies to LGBTQIA+ communities through representation in tobacco ads, sponsorship of Pride events, and financial support to HIV/AIDS organizations. The goal was to make smoking, and menthol in particular, an accepted part of queer culture.

And it worked. . .with deadly consequences. In a single year, LGBTQIA+ community members spent more than 12x as much on cigarettes than was donated to all LGBTQIA+ causes combined. While much more research is needed to fully understand the toll tobacco takes on LGBTQIA+ lives, tobacco use contributes to LGB adults having more risk factors for cardiovascular disease than straight adults. Tobacco use also causes cancer, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and COPD and can cause complications for people living with HIV. In fact, people living with HIV, including those with access to treatment, lose more years of life from smoking than from HIV.

Learn more about the impact of tobacco use on the LGBTQIA+ community and what you can do to address these health disparities here

**We have chosen to use LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, +) to reflect the diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. When single terms like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” and “transgender” or shorter initialisms (LGB or LGBT) are used, it reflects the research on which the data presented is based. For a more comprehensive list of terms used by members of the LGBTQIA+ community to describe themselves, visit the Human Rights Campaign.