Taking Pride In Our Health

Vaping and smoking only hold us back as we strive toward equality  

As a community, we have a lot to celebrate. With marriage equality and increasing equality for transgender and gender non-conforming people, we’ve had some big wins.

But the disproportionate toll that tobacco and vaping have on LGBTQ people threatens our progress.


Unsure about vape? You aren’t alone.

Currently, there are more than 450 vaping products on the market.

And vaping companies don’t have to follow universal safety standards – or reveal the chemical ingredients used in products.1 

Click the image to the left to learn more.

Researchers haven’t yet determined that vaping is safe.2

What’s clear? Those vape clouds are definitely not “harmless” water vapor.

In addition to nicotine, vaping aerosols can contain heavy metals, ultrafine particulate and cancer-causing agents.3 One chemical commonly found in vapor aerosol, diacetyl, can cause a fatal lung disease commonly known as “popcorn lung.”4

Make an informed choice.

Doctors and public health experts urge caution when it comes to vaping. Too little is known to consider these products safe.

Get the Facts

LGBTQ Coloradans are way more likely to smoke and vape compared to cis/heterosexual people.

In fact, the smoking rate for all Coloradans decreased by nearly 5 percent from 2004 to 2014 – but the rate of smoking in our community remained the same.5


More than 30,000 members of our community die of tobacco-related illnesses every year.6


LGBTQ people spend $7.9 billion on cigarettes each year – 65 times more than LGBTQ-friendly organizations spend fighting for our equal rights.

In the meantime, smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

Here’s the good news.

When you get help — like coaching and quit medications — you can quit for good. Nicotine patches, gum and varenicline tablets (Chantix) can help control cravings, upping your chances to stay tobacco-free.

Why are LGBTQ people so much more likely to use tobacco and vape? For the same reasons straight people do – stress, mostly.

But our stress is different. Most people can’t relate to the stress of being discriminated against. The stress of not being accepted by your family. The stress of being singled out for who you are.

But we know all about that.

Tyson’s story is pretty typical.

He started smoking as a teenager. He wants to quit and he’s tried before, but he went back to smoking. That doesn’t mean he’s giving up.

It doesn’t help that smoking and vaping are rampant in our community.

When you’re out, it can feel like everyone is stepping outside to take a hit or have a smoke. When our friends and partners use tobacco products, it makes it so much harder to quit.


Most people have to try between five and seven times before they finally quit for good.7


You may not be used to asking for help. We didn’t get to where we are today without fighting every step along the way.

But nicotine is different. It’s one of the most addictive substances around.8

If you’ve tried to quit before, you’re in good company. Don’t give up! Be proud that you are trying again.

1. E-cigarettes: An Emerging Public Health Challenge, CDC Public Health Grand Rounds, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/pdf/archives/2015/october2015.pdf
2. Dual Use of Tobacco Products, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/dual-tobacco-use.html
3. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Key Facts: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://chronicdata.cdc.gov/Policy/Electronic-Nicotine-Delivery-Systems-Key-Facts-Inf/nwhw-m4k/data
4. Farsalinos KE, Kistler KA, Gillman G, Voudris V., Evaluation of Electronic Cigarette Liquids and Aerosol for the Present of Selected Inhalation Toxins. Nicotine Tob Res. 2014; 17:168-74.
5. Comparison of Smoking Rates among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Coloradans, 2011 to 2015, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Retrieved from: https://www.cohealthdata.dphe.state.co.us/
6. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons and Tobacco Use, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/lgbt/index.htm
7. Estimating the Number of Quit Attempts it Takes to Quit Smoking Successfully in a Longitudinal Cohort of Smokers, Chaiton, et. al, 2016. Retrieved from: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e011045
8. Smokefree.gov. What We Know About E-Cigarettes. Retrieved from: https://www.smokefree.gov/understanding-smoking/e-cigs-menthol-dip-more/what-we-know-about-e-cigarettes