Members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have higher rates of tobacco use and alcohol abuse than their non-LGBT counterparts. Both alcohol and tobacco use represent forms of substance use with substantial costs to the U.S. economy, to population health, and to LGBT lives. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption cause more than half a million premature deaths each year in the United States.
[Photo: Dr. Stacy Smallwood]
Corporate marketing can play a role in contributing to greater levels of smoking and alcohol use among LGBT populations. The researchers assessed tobacco policies and alcohol industry sponsorship at LGBT pride events in the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. They found that very few pride events have protections in place for secondhand smoke. Many have evidence of alcohol industry sponsorship. The limited number of protections from secondhand smoke were due to smoke- or tobacco-free park policies where the events were being held.
Using these data, the authors call on researchers, practitioners, and pride event organizers to enact policies that can reduce tobacco and alcohol use disparities. “We think these data show better engagement between state health departments and LGBT community organizations is needed,” said study co-author, Dr. Stacy Smallwood.
“Tobacco Policies and Alcohol Sponsorship at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Festivals: Time for Intervention,” was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health. It assessed pride event policies about tobacco and alcohol at 100 pride events across the United States. It also provides recommendations for health policy and promotion efforts for LGBT communities.
Ms. Jasmine D. Spivey, a recent graduate in public health from East Carolina University, who concentrated in community health, was the lead author and Dr. Joseph G. L. Lee, assistant professor at the College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, was a co-author. Dr. Stacy W. Smallwood, assistant professor at the Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health was a co-author for the study.