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LGBTQIA2S+ CommunitiesBig Tobacco Targeting

Faking support for profit

People who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ are more likely to use menthol tobacco products than people who identify as heterosexual.1, 2 That's no mistake.

For many years, the tobacco industry has targeted LGBTQIA2S+ communities with images that suggest that the use of menthol tobacco products is an important part of community life, fostering a sense of belonging. The tobacco industry also uses venue and event promotions, political ties with LGBTQIA2S+ leaders, and support for LGBTQIA2S+ causes to promote menthol products.3-7

People who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ are more likely to try their first cigarette before age 13.2 And menthol is key, making it easier to start smoking and harder to quit.1

Want to know even more about menthol?

1 Cigarette Smoking and the Role of Menthol in Tobacco Use Inequalities for Sexual Minorities. Ollie Ganz, Cristine D Delnevo, Nicotine Tob Res. 2021;23: 1942–1946.
2 Menthol cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults. Fallin A, Goodin AJ, King BA., Am J Prev Med. 2015;48: 93–97.
3 Big Tobacco Targets the LGBTQ+ Community , American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, December 15, 2022
4 An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Marketing to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Populations: Strategies for Mainstream Tobacco Control and Prevention. Stevens P, Carlson LM, Hinman JM. Health Promotion Practice. 2004. p. 129S–134S. doi:10.1177/1524839904264617
5 The outing of Philip Morris: advertising tobacco to gay men. Elizabeth A. Smith, PhD and Ruth E. Malone, PhD, RN, Am J Public Health. 2003;93: 988–993.
6 Burning Love: big tobacco takes aim at LGBT youths. Washington HA. Am J Public Health. 2002;92: 1086–1095.
Tobacco Policies and Alcohol Sponsorship at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Festivals: Time for Intervention. Jasmine D. Spivey, Joseph G. L. Lee, PhD, MPH,corresponding author and Stacy W. Smallwood, PhD, MPH, Am J Public Health. 2018;108: 187–188
Last updated 1/22/2024 7:55 AM
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