FDA launches new anti-tobacco campaign aimed at LGBT youth

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- News 4 has a first look at an FDA campaign focusing on the LGBT community. It’s an effort to stop tobacco use among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults.

The FDA says 18-to 24-year-olds who identify as part of that community are twice as likely to use tobacco compared to other young adults.

The Senior Director of the Pride Center of WNY calls the campaign “exciting” and is glad the FDA is acknowledging the LGBT community.

“I wouldn’t take it as a singling out at all,” says Senior Director Matthew Crehan Higgins. “I would take it as an acknowledgment that as we learn about LGBT people, as the FDA learns more about LGBT people, and as they realize those health disparities that exist that they take the opportunity to make sure this community is getting a message about living a healthy life.”

The FDA says the stressful coming out process is a unique risk factor and LGBT youth can also find a sense of community at bars and clubs, which can lead to tobacco use.

Studies show out of more than 2 million people in the U.S. who identify as LGBT, more than 800,000 are occasional smokers.

Tobacco Free Western New York says this may be the first campaign targeted at LGBT youth.

“This is the first to my knowledge, and again, we think it’s terrific because it adds to the work we’re trying to do at the local level,” said Anthony Billoni, director of Tobacco Free WNY.

The FDA’s print campaign focuses on 12 large cities throughout the U.S., including Chicago and New York City. It’s also targeting LGBT youth on social media. You can follow @ThisFreeLife on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For more information, head to the campaign website.

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