Health Alert – smoking puts gay and bi men at risk

Recent published studies have shown that gay and bi men smoke at higher rates than men in the general U.S. population. The American Cancer Society also reports that “tobacco companies aggressively target the gay community” and that “tobacco use takes the lives of 40,000 LGBT individuals each year.” 

Smoking has been directly linked to higher rates of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung diseases – just to name a few health hazards. So maybe its time to consider quitting. The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network suggests these strategies for quitting…

Talk with your doctor about your smoking and see if you are interested in taking a prescription medication that can help, like Zyban (also called Wellbutrin) or Chantix ( also called Verenicline). 

Or, you may plan to take a type of nicotine replacement therapy, like the patch, gum or lozenge, which may be purchased over the counter.  Nicotine inhalers and nicotine spray are also replacement products, but are only available by prescription.  And new evidence shows we shouldn’t dial down the doses of this stuff as fast as previously thought, stay higher if needed.

Recent research demonstrates that enrolling in some type of stop smoking support program, like a group, individual counseling, or website, can increase your chances for success.  Call your state smoking Quitline for local resources at 1-800-QUITNOW. These programs help you with valuable skills (like learning your smoking triggers) and immediate social support.

Of course it isn’t that simple. But there are a lot of resources at your disposal in helping you to quit. Here are just a few links to get you started…

The CDC’s Gay and Bi health page smoking section

The LGBT National Tobacco Control Network

American Cancer Society fact sheet on smoking in the LGBT community

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