While remarkable progress has been made to reduce smoking prevalence across the general population, rates of decline have been markedly slower among certain historically disadvantaged communities. By consequence, there has only been a widening of the disparity in cigarette smoking rates as. NYC Treats Tobacco works with health systems around New York to ameliorate these disparities in the hopes of equitably and justly distributing advances in health amongst at-risk populations.
Persons Who Identify as LGBTQ+
Adults and youth in the LGBTQ+ population have a higher likelihood to use tobacco than those who identify as straight. About 1 in 6 LGBTQ+ adults are cigarette smokers compared to the 1 in 8 adult smokers who identify as straight. This is in part due to the tobacco industry's aggressive marketing towards LBTGQ+ individuals. Starting in the 1990’s and continuing today with the emerging popularity of e-cigarettes, industry leaders have made concerted efforts to recruit LGBTQ+ individuals. These marketing campaigns, coupled with additional stress and stigmatization faced by so many members of this community, have produced a major health inequalities in smoking-related death and disease.
NYCTT prioritizes the reduction of these disparities and is working to provide quality tobacco dependence screening and care to all New Yorkers. Find below resources for equitable approaches to tobacco prevention and control in the LGBTQ+ community.
Best Treatment Practices
Persons with Low Socioeconomic Status
Low socioeconomic status has been consistently and durably been linked to negative health outcomes including smoking. The CDC reports that people with lower income have higher incidence of commercial tobacco-related diseases than people with higher levels of income, that tobacco product use prevalence is higher among adults who were uninsured (27.3%), enrolled in Medicaid (28.6%), or had some other public insurance (21.3%) compared to adults with private insurance (16.4%) or Medicare only (12.5%). NYCTT collaborates with healthcare organizations serving low-income New Yorkers so that insurance status and income bracket don’t prevent them from accessing quality care.
Persons Diagnosed with Behavioral Health Conditions
In 2019, 27.2% of adults with a mental health condition reported smoking cigarettes in the past month – compared to 15.8% of adults with no mental health condition. This disproportionate rate of smoking produces a huge burden of illness and premature death within the group. In fact, the most common causes of death among people with behavioral health conditions are heart disease, cancer, and lung disease, all be consequences of smoking. NYCTT actively recruits behavioral health centers in the five boroughs so that they can provide cessation services to their clients while attending to their mental and social wellbeing.
Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Racism is a public health issue, and its impacts extend into smoking rate disparities. As the Truth Initiative writes, "The death and disease that tobacco products [...] have inflicted on minority communities are devastating." There are multiple well-documented reasons for these disparities including strategic and aggressively targeted advertising, unequal access to smoking cessation resources, and the historical disenfranchisement from public resources.
Find below fact sheets that offer more information on the disparities these conditions have produced: