Did you know?

  • Nationwide, the LGBT community smokes at a rate 68% higher than the general population.
  • The LGBT community spends an estimated $7.9 billion on tobacco products annually--which is 65 times more money than pro-equality funders spend on all LGBT issues combined.
  • The smoking rate among lesbian and gay youth in NYC is over 2 times higher than the smoking rate among straight youth. 
  • LGBT youth smoke at higher rates due to additional stressors in their lives such as discrimination, peer pressure, bullying, rejection by family and friends, and risk of homelessness.    


How does Big Tobacco target and market to the LGBT Community?

  • Through direct advertising in LGBT publications and indirect advertising in mainstream publications, community outreach and community promotions (such as “LGBT bar nights featuring specific cigarette brands”), event sponsorships, and the provision of advertising dollars.
  • By identifying the lesbian and gay youth market as an emerging target community.  Research suggests that smoking rates are high among LGB youth because of unique stressors that contribute to their risk of substance use such as the stresses of “coming out,” physical and verbal victimization, feelings of alienation, and depression.

The NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative

Despite historic declines in smoking rates over the past ten years, there are still some New Yorkers who smoke at disproportionally higher rates than the general population, including people who identify as LGBT. 

While a number of organizations and advocates have done work around this issue, the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City and the American Cancer Society are committed to raising awareness among both the LGBT community and decision makers in New York to support tobacco-free living for the New York City LGBT community.

Check out our letter-of-support and if you'd like to sign on, please email us at NYCLGBTSmokeFree@healthsolutions.org


What can you do? 

If you’d like to learn more about the NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative and support our work, please let us know.  You can email us at NYCLGBTSmokeFree@healthsolutions.org.


The Following Organizations Support the NYC LGBT Initiative:

AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA)

APICHA Community Health Center

Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Community Health Action of Staten Island

David Geffen Center for HIV Prevention and Health Education

Empire State Pride Agenda

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)

Hetrick-Martin Institute

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Metropolitan Community Church of New York

National LGBT Cancer Network

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Out of Bounds

SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders)



MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control

Tobacco Fact Sheet: LGBT Communities and Smoking

Tobacco Fact Sheet: NYS and NYC LGBT Communities and Smoking

Fact Sheet: LGBT Community and Smoking (designed by LGBT Youth)

Tobacco Control in LGBT Communities

SmokeFree Project and Cessation Counseling at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center

NYC Smoke-Free Sign-On Letter

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available for many New Yorkers by calling 3-1-1

(Graphic courtesy of Tobacco Education Clearinghouse of California and copyrighted by CA Dept of Health)