For Specific Groups: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)

Know the Facts

If you are part of the LGBT communities, you likely have seen tobacco ads in magazines, newspapers, and Web sites directed at you. Tobacco companies are targeting your communities.

Smoking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States is much higher than among heterosexual/straight adults. About 1 in 5 (20.5%) lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults smokes cigarettes compared with about 1 in 7 (15.3%) heterosexual/straight adults.*

Cigarette smoking is also higher among transgender adults (35.5%), than among adults whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex (cisgender).†

Smoking increases your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and other smoking-related diseases.

Sources for cigarette smoking prevalence:

* Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2018.

Transgender Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and E-Cigarettes in a National Study.External American Journal of Preventive Medicine, [e-pub 2017 Jan 13].

For More Information

  • Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking among specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.

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Real Stories: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People Featured in Tips®

Learn the real stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.

BrianMeet Brian. Brian, age 45, lives in California and has HIV. At 14, he started smoking. At 43, smoking, combined with HIV, caused him to have a stroke. He quit that day and hopes to regain full use of his right hand.

EllieMeet Ellie. Ellie, age 57, lives in Florida and never smoked. At 35, she started having asthma attacks triggered from breathing secondhand smoke at work. The severe attacks forced her to leave a job she loved.

RoseMeet Rose. Rose lived in Texas and began smoking at age 13. She developed lung cancer that later spread to her brain. After many, many treatments, Rose died in January 2015. She was 60.

Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.

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Quitting Help

To get started right now, see our How to Quit Smoking area featuring a Quit Guide website and an additional Quitting Resources page.

You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.

Quit-smoking treatments may be free or reduced in price through insurance, health plans, or clinics. State Medicaid programs cover quit-smoking treatments. While the coverage varies by state, all states cover some treatments for at least some Medicaid enrollees.

Medicare currently covers two quit attempts per year and up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per attempt.

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Ellie never smoked herself, but she worked in a bar that had many LGBT customers and she noticed plenty of smokers. She had severe asthma attacks—triggered by her exposure to secondhand smoke on the job.

“I had trouble breathing. It was terrifying!”