Tobacco Use in Colorado’s LGBTQ Community
In Colorado, 38% of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning (LGBTQ) community use tobacco products compared to 18% of Coloradans as a whole.
Risks of Tobacco Use
Tobacco use increases the risk of:
- Heart disease
- Quicker aging of the face and skin
- Tooth loss
- Other smoking-related diseases that can be fatal
Contributing Factors for High LGBTQ Smoking Rates
There are many reasons why people smoke:
- A break from the day
- Social incentives
- Connection with others
The LGBTQ community has been directly targeted by the tobacco companies. R.J. Reynolds, producers of Camel tobacco products, launched Project S.C.U.M. (Subculture Urban Marketing) in the mid 1990s to specifically target the homeless and LGBTQ communities. R.J. Reynolds was looking to boost their cigarette sales to vulnerable populations with already high smoking rates.
Big Tobacco has also financially supported LGBTQ events and establishments like:
- Gay bars
- Pride festivals
Unfortunately, Big Tobacco has provided this support with the agenda of attracting more smokers. They have strategically appealed to the LGBTQ community’s values of choice, freedom, and pride.