three teen girls smoking cigarettes 

Sexual Orientation, Gender, & Tobacco

Fitting In

Most people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, start smoking (or chewing or dipping) as teenagers. Smoking can feel adventurous, and can make fitting in with peers easier.

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) youth, fitting in can be a precious thing. Many LGBTIQ youth feel isolated and lonely, at least until they find a group of LGBTIQ-supportive peers. When they do, if smoking is what's needed to belonging, it may feel like a small price to pay.

LGBTIQ youth may smoke because they've grown up with false notions.

  • Their lives are worthless to begin with. If they don't feel like their lives will amount to much, smoking probably doesn't seem like much of a risk.
  • Other LGBTIQ youth smoke, so it's the best way to fit in and make friends.

LGBQ youth in Boulder County have higher rates of smoking than heterosexual youth. They also have significantly lower rates of attempting to quit.

  • 37.9% of Boulder County LGBQ youth are current smokers, compared to 15.3% of heterosexual youth.
  • 42% of Boulder County LGBQ youth have tried to quit smoking in the last year, compared to 53.1% of heterosexual youth.

If you’re a Boulder County resident and you’d like a free LGBTIQ quit kit,
please call 303-413-7512.

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OASOS Program

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