An estimated 33 percent of Americans who identify as LGBT smoke, spending $7.9 billion on cigarettes each year, according to data compiled by the Network for LGBT Health Equity.
The data coincides with the release Friday of the U.S. Surgeon General’s “Health Consequence of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress” report, that reveals the impact of tobacco is even larger than previously known on health.
With the advent of data from the National Adult Tobacco Survey, the Network for LGBT Health Equity has modeled the estimated money the U.S. LGBT community spends on cigarettes every year. After factoring in LGBT prevalence and smoking rates, the Network reports the LGBT communities spent $7.9 billion dollars per year on their top health burden, smoking — 65 times as much money as the Funders for LGBTQ Issues report all foundations spend on LGBT funding.
“It’s a brutal truth” says the Network’s Director, Dr. Scout, “We’re spending more on something that kills us than everyone else is spending to help us.”
Article continues belowAccording to Scout, LGBT smoking disparities have been documented with a series of studies over several decades, but the 2012 National Adult Tobacco Survey marked the first time a national surveillance instrument reported LGBT smoking prevalence. In that survey, 32.8 percent of LGBT respondents smoked, versus 19.5 percent of others.
“LGBT people smoke at rates that are 68 percent higher than the general population,” notes Scout, “and the 50 years of Surgeon General’s reports just show us how effectively lethal tobacco is.”
Friday’s release of the Surgeon General’s 50th anniversary report on smoking also expands the scope of diseases with a direct link to smoking. Whereas people usually associate only lung cancer with smoking, the Surgeon General reports 1 in 3 cancer deaths is caused by smoking.
Since the first report was published, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking, 2.5 million of them nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke, including 100,000 babies.