A local program that helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents quit smoking will be highlighted at a national conference this week. Tobacco Free Allegheny will showcase a total of six programs at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Phoenix June 10-12.
The program targeting LGBT residents has been around for less than a year. Executive Director Cindy Thomas says the biggest challenge to providing smoking cessation programs for LGBT residents is making sure it's done in a safe environment with lots of peer support. Tobacco Free Allegheny has been working with the Persad Center, an agency that provides counseling for LGBT residents.
Smoking rates in the LGBT population are 50-200% higher than average, according to the Boston-based National LGBT Tobacco Control Network. The Network attributes the higher rates to tobacco advertising in gay publications, and a lack of cessation programs that target sexual minorities.