An UNDO Project
Last Updated: 3/10/2023
A non-binary person in a dark jail cellA non-binary person in a dark jail cell

LGBTQ+

Download this story

The Story of LGBTQ+

What comes to mind when someone is described as “scum”? A lowlife. A criminal. A degenerate. That’s exactly what Big Tobacco thinks of people who identify as LGBTQ+, even naming a marketing plan targeting LGBTQ+ in San Francisco “Project SCUM.”1

Tobacco companies were among the first to “support” LGBTQ+ communities but they were never allies. They sought to demonstrate their allegiance by advertising in LGBTQ+ publications and sponsoring community and pride events. They exploit any feelings of isolation and despair this community experiences by promoting smoking as a way to bond with one another and relieve stress.2

Over the past ten years, the smoking rate of LGBTQ+ populations has dropped by nearly half – the biggest drop of any group.3

But Big Tobacco doesn’t just sell cigarettes anymore – they’ve flooded the market with new tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, to keep people addicted. Unfortunately, the overall tobacco use rate for LGBTQ+ populations is still high at 24 percent.4

LGBTQ+ communities don’t need Big Tobacco to keep their pride.

The proof is in the data

[Data last updated March 2023 ]
Indicator
LGBTQ+
General population
Adult tobacco use
1. Adult cigarette use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalence
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
8.3%
6.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
2. Change in adult cigarette use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2014 to 2020
Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual, Age 18-70
-56%
The 2020 estimate is significantly lower than the 2014 estimate.
-46.4%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2013-14. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
3. Adult tobacco use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (e.g., cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
15.7%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
11.3%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Youth tobacco use
4. Youth cigarette use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalence
2.9%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
1.2%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
5. Youth tobacco use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)
14.1%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
9.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
Availability of tobacco & tobacco industry influence
6. Cheapest cigarettes: Average price for the cheapest pack of cigarettes
$7.20
$7.11
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
7. Flavored little cigar price: Average price for a single flavored little cigar/cigarillo
$0.98
$0.97
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2016. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2011-2015. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
8. Tobacco stores: Density of stores selling tobacco per 100,000 residents
87.4
The estimate is 10.0 stores per 100,000 higher than the California general population.
77
  • California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licensees, November 2021. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Decennial Census, 2010. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
9. Flavored tobacco: Proportion of stores that sell flavored non-cigarette tobacco products
83.3%
81.8%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
10. Menthol cigarettes: Proportion of stores that sell menthol cigarettes
85.8%
88.3%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
11. Tobacco advertising: Proportion of stores that keep 90% of their storefront free from any advertising
42.8%
40.1%
  • Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, 2019. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program.
  • American Community Survey, 2014-2018. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.
Secondhand smoke
12. Adult secondhand tobacco exposure: Proportion of adults exposed to secondhand smoke or vape
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
49.9%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
35.2%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
13. Youth secondhand tobacco exposure: Proportion of youth exposed to secondhand smoke or vape
40.4%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
33.1%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
14. Smoke-free homes: Proportion of adults with smoke-free homes
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
86%
The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.
91.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Cessation
15. Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months
66.1%
55.6%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
16. Doctor advice to quit: Proportion of smokers whose doctors advised them to quit
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender
42.8%
46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Kick It California
Percent of enrollees
Percent of smokers
17. Kick It California enrollees: Proportion of Kick It California enrollees
Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual
9.2%
8.6%
of smokers are LGBTQ+
  • California Smokers’ Helpline Caller Intake Reports, 2020. San Diego, CA: California Smokers’ Helpline, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
A non-binary person looking away in a light backgroundA non-binary person looking away in a light background

How you can help

You have a voice and can make a difference.
SPEAK UP
A non-binary person in a dark jail cell

A Story of Inequity

Tobacco’s impact on health disparities in California

For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted California’s diverse communities with predatory practices. Internal documents from Big Tobacco outline their strategies – many of which are shocking attempts to peddle deadly products by way of product discounts and manipulative advertising. They even gave away free products to youth in the past. These tactics masquerade as support for communities under the guise of cultural celebration.

Unfortunately, the tactics have worked. Big Tobacco aggressively targeted communities and, as a result, some populations have higher rates of tobacco use, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease than the general population.1

Addressing tobacco-related health inequities is key to California’s efforts to fight tobacco, our state’s number one cause of preventable death and disease.2 Tobacco use, pricing, and its impact across California were analyzed where significant disparities were found across various populations. See how Big Tobacco affects each community in the Nation’s most diverse state.

A Story Of Inequity methodology >