Outreach within the LGBTQ+ Community
In the United States, tobacco kills more people each day than AIDS, alcohol, car crashes, firearms and illegal drugs combined. Up to half of the people who smoke will die early, losing an average of 10-20 years of life, and everyone is affected by secondhand smoke.
According to the American Cancer Society, 40,000 LGBTQ+ people die every year from tobacco-related diseases. Cigarette smoking among LGBTQ+ individuals in the U.S. is higher than among heterosexual/straight individuals. About 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ adults smoke cigarettes compared with about 1 in 6 heterosexual/straight adults.
MOTAC recognizes the tobacco industry targets specific groups of people through aggressive marketing tactics. The LGBTQ+ community has been one of these groups that have been continuously exploited by Big Tobacco. Targeting of the LGBTQ+ community is done on a large scale through direct advertisements, promotions and philanthropic support by sponsoring PRIDE events and giving out free merchandise in and around the bar and club scene. Many organizations accept money from the tobacco industry in the form of sponsorships, allowing tobacco to further infiltrate the culture.
According to a local survey, the prevalence of tobacco use in Nebraska’s LGBTQ+ community was higher than that of the nation, where nearly half (46.4 percent) of the respondents reported smoking more than five packs of cigarettes in their life.