The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has announced an historic partnership between its tobacco and HIV divisions in the form of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign. The campaign raises awareness and strengthens educations about the dangers of being both HIV+ and a smoker.
The video informs viewers on HIV+ smokers' increased risks for certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke, while intensified dangers for HIV-related infections are made clear on the CDC 's website.
Print ads will run for nearly two months and digital ads, in English and Spanish, are available online now.
“These new Tips ads speak to vitally important information that HIV-positive tobacco smokers need to hear; that once your HIV is under control, the next greatest threat to your health has a cure," Dr. Scout at CenterLink, the community of LGBT centers, said in a statement.
The dangers of smoking have a disproportionately high impact on not only people who are HIV+, but on the LGBT community at large, as well.
But smoking is a major LGBT health issue. Studies consistently show that LGBT people smoke at rates that are 35 to 200 percent higher than the general population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent data show that the prevalence of smoking among LGBT people 30.8 percent, compared with a rate of 20.5 percent among non-LGBT people.
Some of this is attributable to targeted marketing. Tobacco companies have long targeted our community with ads featuring LGBT people and themes. They have supported our causes. While the support has been welcomed, it has come with a price. And smoking has been, historically, tightly woven into the fabric of LGBT socializing in bars and clubs, although this is slowly changing.
Meanwhile, smoking remains a potent stress reliever for those struggling with acceptance in a tough world, though it is well established that in the long run, smoking diminishes one’s health and appearance.
Released earlier this year in conjunction with the Surgeon General's Health Consequence of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, CenterLink's Network provided information on 50 years of smoking's impact on transgender, bi, lesbian, and gay communities. The report found that, with the LGBT community spending 65 times more money on cigarettes than funders spend on all LGBT-related issues, smoking hinders people's health as well as the health of our movement for equality.