Let’s Take Pride In Our Health

As we march toward equality, let’s make sure our lungs can go the distance

As a community, we have a lot to celebrate. Between marriage equality and increased visibility for our transgender friends, we’ve had some big wins in recent years. But the deadly and disproportionate toll that tobacco takes on LGBTQ people threatens our progress.



More than 30,000 members of our community die of tobacco-related illnesses every year.1


Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Despite this terrifying truth, LGBTQ people spend a whopping $7.9 billion on cigarettes each year – 65 times more than LGBTQ-friendly organizations spend fighting for our equal rights.


LGBTQ Coloradans are twice as likely to smoke compared to their straight neighbors. While the smoking rate for all Coloradans decreased by nearly 5 percent from 2004 to 2014, the rate of smoking in our community remained the same. 2

Why are LGBTQ people so much more likely to use tobacco? For the same reasons straight people smoke – 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 abuse for who you are. But we know all about that.

It doesn’t help that smoking is rampant in our community. When you’re out, it can feel like everyone is stepping outside for a smoke. When our friends and even our partners smoke, it makes it so much harder to quit.

But here’s the good news.

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

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. Most people have to try between five and seven times before they finally quit for good.3

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

Get the Facts

Whether you are ready to quit — or just considering it — or you’ve quit a dozen times and couldn’t make it stick — get the facts about smoking in the LGBTQ community. Learn about resources to help you quit, and connect to others who share the struggle.

Visit Enough with the Puff

Tyson's Story

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.

Whether you are a first-time quitter or have a few tries under your belt, we have lots of helpful tips to help you quit successfully and stay tobacco free. Explore this site to find information and resources that will help you be tobacco-free for good.


1. 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
2. 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/
3. 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