Pride Month: LGBTQ+ People and Tobacco

June is LGBTQ+ Pride month across the United States, and as celebrations continue, it’s also a time to recognize and highlight the impact of tobacco on LGBTQ+ people and communities. 

The negative impacts of smoking and tobacco use disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people. This starts with youth: in high school, 17.4% of gay, lesbian, or bisexual (LGB) students currently used any tobacco product in 2021, compared to 11.4% of their heterosexual peers. There is also evidence that LGB youth are more likely to begin using tobacco products at an earlier age. 

Tobacco use rates are also subsequently higher among LGB adults compared to straight or heterosexual peers. Data also shows that transgender adults use tobacco products at higher rates than cisgender adults. 

The tobacco industry has undertaken targeted marketing to these communities, including through advertising, philanthropic efforts, events and sponsorship. Learn more about their efforts to target this community here.  

These higher rates of tobacco use relate to higher rates of negative health impacts like cardiovascular disease. Smoking is also the leading cause of cancer in the U.S. An estimated that 45,000 LGBTQ+ people die from cancer each year.

If you’re considering quitting tobacco

If and when you are interested in quitting, help is available, free of charge, including medication and counseling support from QuitNow-NH. Speak with your doctor at your next visit, or visit our quitting page to learn more and get started.

Want to share your quitting story, and inspire others?

What’s your reason for wanting to quit? Record your video directly on our site, or write yourself a Dear Me: I’m Ready letter today.


National LGBT Cancer Network: Outlast Tobacco

National LGBT Cancer Network training for providers: Welcoming Spaces: Treating Your LGBTQ+ Patient

U.S. CDC: LGBTQ+ People Experience a Health Burden from Commercial Tobacco