I have to wonder WHY? I assume they smoke for the same reasons non-gays smoke (only perhaps more so, since they deal with intolerance more than most do) - stress, calming effect, pleasure, etc. To spend a crazy amount of money on something like this for to get obvious results is aburd. One big step would be to be more tolerant & understanding of gays.
Ohio health department to study tobacco habits of gay teens
By MEGHAN BARR
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio health officials will use a federal grant aimed
at preventing tobacco use among minorities to study why gay and
lesbian teenagers smoke at a higher rate than their straight peers.
Health officials are allocating $60,000 to identify the smoking
habits of those teens and develop a tobacco-prevention campaign for
"The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community has a smoking
rate at about 40 to 60 percent, which is higher than the national
rate," Ohio Department of Health spokesman Kristopher Weiss said.
While national statistics show smoking rates among gays and lesbians
are nearly double that of the rest of the country, no Ohio-specific
health data exist.
As part of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Community Youth
and Young Adults Anti-Tobacco Social Marketing Project, officials
will form focus groups among youths ages 12 through 20 at an LBGT
center in Columbus. Angie Wellman, director of the Kaleidoscope Youth
Center, a drop-in venue for LBGT youths here, estimated that 60 to 70
percent of the center's teen visitors smoke regularly.
"It's definitely something we notice, just in terms of both tobacco
use and other drug and alcohol use," Wellman said. "When we think
about risky behaviors, our kids tend to be at higher risk for all
those things just across the board."
Ohio joins a growing national effort to curb the number of gays and
lesbians who light up. As of August 2006, 20 states said they were
addressing the problem, according to a census conducted by the
National LGBT Tobacco Control Network, a Boston-based nonprofit group.
Gay teens are more susceptible to adopting a nicotine habit as a
coping mechanism when they come out to family and friends, said the
network's director, Scout.
"It's kind of a vicious circle," said Scout, which is her full legal
name. "A lot of people I knew started smoking in LGBT youth groups.
People went outside to smoke together. That's when they picked up
In contrast to the general population, LGBT youth smoking rates
aren't dropping, she said.
"I think it's a huge problem in LGBT communities, on par with the HIV
epidemic," said Dr. Gary Remafedi, professor of pediatrics at the
University of Minnesota.
Part of the problem can be attributed to a lack of medical data
chronicling the gay and lesbian population, said James Beaudreau, an
education and policy associate at the Gay and Lesbian Medical
"Recently there's been much more interest among health departments
targeting that group," he said.
The first known LGBT tobacco intervention program was The Last Drag,
free quit-smoking classes founded in 1991 for LGBT and HIV-positive
smokers, Scout said. Since then, state-funded and grassroots-level
efforts have propelled the cause.
"We go to all the different bars, nightclubs, gay prides, any kind of
festival in Las Vegas and try to promote a nonsmoking lifestyle,"
said Malcolm Ahlo, program director for Crush, an anti-tobacco
nonprofit campaign in Nevada. "We're promoting that it's sexier to be
Crush sends its "street team" of scantily clad models out to spread
the word, wearing underwear and dog tags featuring catch phrases
like "smooth" and "fresh" — a marketing strategy carefully tailored
for gay youths. An online component even teaches gays and lesbians to
quit through a series of text messages on their cell phones.
Ohio's effort is the first step in the right direction, Scout said.
The health department is currently soliciting proposals from vendors
until March 12.
"Part of (why they smoke) is to fit in, a part of it is to deal with
some of the awkward or isolating feelings that they're having," said
Wellman. "But I also don't think they are completely oblivious to all
of the health information that's put out there."