#SaludLGBTT Summit: E-Cigs are a New Face for an Old Addiction

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Corey Prachniak is an LGBT rights, HIV policy, and healthcare attorney. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Network for LGBT Health Equity and tweets @LGBTadvocacy.

This is a series of posts covering Corey’s work in Puerto Rico for the Salud LGBTT conference.

 

 

“Que es?” Dr. Jeannette Noltenius asks the crowd as she “lights up” an electronic cigarette on stage. Despite its flashy look and hidden interior, it’s nothing more than another mechanism for delivering nicotine, she says.

Dr. Noltenius is here to finish up the plenary sessions at the first day of the Salud LGBTT summit. Her presentation focused on the timely issue of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, which I have been told have been growing very popular across Puerto Rico in the past few years.

In a regular package of cigarettes, there are 21 grams of nicotine. In one electronic cigarette, there can be as many as 26 grams – so in a few minutes, you could get a pack’s worth of the addictive chemical.

And these companies aren’t stopping with regular e-cigs. They’ve also developed a liquid version of the product that can be smoked inside an e-cig but also inhaled, mixed with drugs like Cialis, or consumed in any other number of ways. Furthermore, niche products like e-Hookah seek to draw in as many consumers as possible.

Dr. Noltenius explains that 95% of ads for e-cigs have featured the concept that they are healthier than cigarettes. Other marketing strategies include promoting that it reduces second-hand smoke and can be smoked anywhere, even indoors. But these claims ignore the addictive properties and unhealthy chemicals that define these products, as well as incidents of poisoning and even a few instances of explosions, one of which lit a three-year-old child on fire.

Distributors have been marketing heavily and handing out free products on the streets as a way of getting people hooked. By and large, they are unregulated in how they can advertise, unlike traditional cigarettes are today; the FDA hasn’t yet exercised its power to regulate them. They are targeting the LGBTT community with club promotions and sexy ads the same way cigarettes were pushed upon our community. And Dr. Noltenius cautions that they will be trying to “buy” the LGBTT community with offers of funding for issues like HIV prevention that allow them to infiltrate our social spheres. You will end up repaying them, she warns, in the long run.

Tobacco companies might have been threatened by the rise of e-cigs, but they solved that problem by buying them out. Today, most of the e-cigs are owned by the same corporations that have caused millions of smoking-relating death. Now they are marketing e-cigs as a safer alternative to their own more traditional products.

E-cig makers are seeking to re-normalize smoking, Dr. Noltenius says, with the tobacco companies now projecting that consumption of e-cigs will exceed that of traditional cigarettes in just ten years. If that’s the case, this issue will only become more important for us to tackle as a community.

Stay tuned to the Network blog and my twitter account, @LGBTadvocacy, for lots of live coverage of the summit!

Benson & Hedges Targets LGBTT Communities in Puerto Rico

Juan Carlos Photo

 

Juan Carlos Vega, MLS

Blogging for the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico, National Latino Alliance Pro Health Equity and the Network for LGBT Health Equity

 

 

This is bad! As health professionals, community prevention programs, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health strive to reduce tobacco use prevalence among island inhabitants, we have busted Benson & Hedges, twice, targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transexual (LGBTT) communities in San Juan area’s LGBTT clubs. Cute girls, in tight outfits, look to scan your driver’s license in order to continue to help folks initiate or facilitate access to low price cigarettes. If you fill out the survey that they present at these bars and allow them to scan your id, you can purchase a pack of Benson & Hedges from the bar at a huge discount. No wonder LGBTT smoking prevalence is two to three times higher than that of the general population.

Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills

Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills

Twice, I have been with gay guys who are trying to quit smoking for health and financial reasons and they have been accosted by such tobacco industry tactics. One time, we bought the cigarettes, the second time we resisted. Yes, I was included. After nine years of being smoke free, I have become an occasional social smoker for the past 3-4 years. It is so nasty, the smoke inhalation, the after taste, yet, after a few drinks, I see myself taking a “hit” or two from my friends’ cigarettes. I don’t blame the industry for my personal unhealthy choices, but they sure don’t help us quit for good!  Access to cheap smokes at bars should not be allowed! 

Last weekend, was the second consecutive month, we have seen this predatory practice in our local LGBTT bars. It was contrasting to see as we were distributing promotional flyers for the  3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico, April 4th and 5th at the School of Nursing of the Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, free of cost for the general public and $45.00 fee for Continuing Education for Physicians and Nurses. Against the luring of the tobacco industry to get us to smoke again, the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTT Healthefforts continue to fight the dangers of tobacco use with the support ofLegacy Foundation, the Network for LGBT Health Equity, theComprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Puerto Rico, and the local tobacco free coalition. For more information, on how tobacco affects the health of LGBTT communities, come to the 3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico: Tendencies Towards Health EquityApril 4th and 5th in San Juan. Come by, our Summit is cheaper than the pack of cigarettes sold those nights and you will get great information, make new friends and learn how to take better care of yourselves!

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Juan Carlos Vega shows a tobacco cessation material in Spanish “Tobacco is a murderer that does not discriminate”

FDA Launches Youth Anti-Smoking Campaign, with LGBT Effort to Follow

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Corey Prachniak is an LGBT rights, HIV policy,
and healthcare attorney. 
He serves on the Steering Committee
of the Network for LGBT Health Equity
and tweets @LGBTadvocacy.

 

This morning at the National Press Club in Washington, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled a $115 million anti-smoking campaign aimed at youths – the first-ever such campaign in the FDA’s history.  Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, explained that the effort would specifically target “on-the-cusp youth smokers,” aged 12 to 17, who either had recently begun smoking or who were open-minded to trying it.

Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, noted that when compared to regular smokers, these “at risk teens are even harder to reach because they don’t even see themselves as smokers.”  Instead, they believe that they are only casual users who will not get hooked.

I had the opportunity to ask the panel about their plan to prevent smoking among LGBT youths.  Much as Director Zeller noted that at risk youths don’t consider themselves smokers, many youths might not consider themselves LGBT, and are instead are still processing how they feel or working on coming out.

Responding to my question, the Center’s Director of the Office of Health Communication and Education, Kathy Crosby, said, “We understand that there are sensitivities and we understand that there are cultural issues, as well,” in reaching LGBT teens.  Crosby noted that while the campaign on the whole targeted youths aged 12 to 17, they will launch a subsequent LGBT campaign that may instead focus on 17 to 18-year-olds who are more likely to identify as LGBT.  The hope is that by targeting that subgroup, the message will trickle down to younger teens who are entering the LGBT community.

Ms. Crosby noted that this LGBT sub-campaign is still in the initial stages of development, and will likely take one to two years to take off.  Director Zeller added that the LGBT effort will have “similar themes” to the broader campaign being launched this month, but will be “more targeted” to LGBT youths.100_4885

Directing anti-smoking efforts at LGBT youths is necessary given that the LGBT community has long been a target of tobacco corporations – and has disproportionately high rates of tobacco use to show for it. According to research recently compiled by the Network, LGBT people smoke at a rate that is 68% higher than the population as a whole.  Although the LGBT community spends $7.9 billion – with a “b” – on tobacco products each year, crucial Surgeon General reports on smoking did not even mention LGBT people until a 2001 document entitled “Women and Smoking.”

The new FDA campaign, entitled “The Real Cost,” will “highlight the real costs and health consequences of tobacco use” by focusing on things that young people care about, such as outward appearance and having control over their lives, said Commissioner Hamburg.  The FDA’s research – which will continue for two years as they track 8,000 teens exposed to the ad campaign – revealed that these concerns are more relevant to young people than are long-term consequences, such as heart and lung health, that seem too distant to be real threats.

“It’s different than what we’ve heard before,” said youth activist Daniel Giuffra, “and I think teens will respond to this.”  By using social media in addition to traditional media buys, Mr. Giuffra believes the campaign will “get a conversation started, something we haven’t been able to do before.”

It is a conversation that the LGBT community – and their advocates – desperately need to have.

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We’re working toward a tobacco-free future for LGBT communities!

Here at the National LGBT Cancer Network Summit in NYC, we wanted to get in on the Surgeon General Report excitement! #SGR50photo

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Sassy new ad and infograph highlight LGBT smoking disparity in California

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Brian Davis, Project Director
Freedom From Tobacco
 

 

 

 

 

New video and infographic resources were unveiled by California’s anti-tobacco partners for the LGBT community to address the disproportionate impact of tobacco within the community.  In California, the LGB community has one of the highest smoking rates of any group; lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are twice as likely to smoke as the straight population, based on data collected as part of the California Adult Tobacco Survey (CATS) from 2005 to 2010 through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

CATS does not currently identify Transgender status.  Future versions of the survey will hopefully rectify this problem, so that we will have more complete data on all of our communities in subsequent reports.  Although this limitation is by no means confined to California data, we do know from multiple sources that the LGBTQ population nationally smokes anywhere from 50% to 200% more than the general population.

Issues of highest concern:

  • The smoking prevalence of the California LGB population is twice as high as heterosexual adults (27.4 percent vs. 12.9 percent)
  • Lesbians smoke almost 3 times as much as straight women and gay men smoke almost two times as much as straight men.
  • LGB Californians are nearly twice as likely as straight Californians to let someone smoke in their homes even if they don’t smoke.

The goal of these materials is to inform and drive conversations to help the LGBT community come together to fight tobacco. The groundbreaking new video, which premiered to appreciative audiences at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival last June, sends the all-important message that our community members can help each other break free from tobacco. Hopefully the video will help change the perception of tobacco addiction from primarily being viewed as an individual problem to instead being regarded as a serious concern for the entire community to address.

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 Check out TobaccoFreeCA for more info and ads!

Tobacco Control year in review and 2014 sneak peek!

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ReportOut:
National Partner’s and Disparity Network’s meeting
Keeping you in the loop!
 
 
 

Hello Network!

Scout and I just returned from the Disparity Networks and National Partner’s meeting in lovely Atlanta. And, as always, we brought you back lots of updates and juicy tidbits!

The Disparity Network meeting started with us meeting the two new networks: The YMCA representing low SES, and (org name?) representing mental health, which is a new disparity population this round.

Check out all of the 2013 -2017 CDC disparity Networks: (click the logo to check out their website)

Welcome aboard everyone!

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YEAR IN REVIEW

Tim McFee, the Director of the Office of Smoking and Health, started the National Partner’s meeting off with a look back over the past year of tobacco-control…

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Here are some notable findings:

1. Disturbing trends in the use of electronic cigarettes, hookahs and cigars among middle and High school students

So…What does this mean? We need more monitoring/prevention around non-conventional tobacco products.

2. More than half of all states have comprehensive smoke-free laws!

3. Good progress in increasing clean indoor air coverage…Second hand smoke work at the state level has slowed, BUT it has increased at the local level!

4. Ongoing fight for tobacco control funding:

         -12 states increased their tobacco funding this year!

        – BUT, there was also defunding in a few states (WA went to $0)

5. Lots of activity and concerns about e-cigs (more on this soon!)

 

AND, FOR YOUR 2014 CALENDAR…

- The 50th anniversary of the surgeon general’s report!!!

- Release date is early January 2014, so stay tuned!

- Updated Tobacco Control Best Practices

- Three exciting new media campaigns:

  1. Next Phase of CDC’s TIPS
  2. FDA Youth Campaign
  3. Next phase of Legacy’s TRUTH campaign

Brainstorming on New LGBT Health Research Textbook

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
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L to R: Jose Bauermeister, Deo Kavalieratos, Derrick Matthews, Deo Kavalieratos, Nina Markovic, Sherri Mosovsky, Jessica White, John Blosnich.

I’ve had the pleasure for the last few days to be brainstorming with a bunch of other LGBT scientists at the very top of a crazy beautiful building at University of Pittsburgh, their Cathedral of Learning. Our host is Dr. Ron Stall and all the other members of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt. I always love hanging out with a herd of pointy-headed folk, and this group is as pointy as it gets. The ideas are challenging, interesting, and always thought provoking. As the headline gave away, we’re brainstorming on what we’re fondly calling: “A love letter to future generations of LGBT health researchers” aka a textbook on how to do LGBT health research. Thanks to Ron & everyone at Pitt for convening us and shepherding this idea, because I feel like the longer we talk about what we really want the next generation to know, the more we realize how much there is to tell them. How to get LGBT measures added to surveillance instruments. How to make sure studies funding for one topic (say, oh HIV) create findings on other health priorities (like oh say, smoking!). How to disseminate research findings not just to elite academic journals, but also to communities. I’m happy to say some of our experiences with tobacco policy change will be highlighted as examples in the book. Actually, we’ve been talking tobacco a lot, no doubt because some of the amazing leaders on tobacco research happen to be sitting right here. So, here’s the pop quiz, look at the pictures to the right, I can identify at least five who are important to tobacco and/or have directly collaborated with the Network. Any idea who some of these stars are? Answers below.

(L to R) Ron stall, Tony Silvestre, Robert Coulter, Amy Herrick

(R to L) Ron Stall, Tony Silvestre, Robert Coulter, Amy Herrick, Jade Coley.

Tobacco hotshots:

Ron Stall has done some of the earlier full probability sampling on gay men and tobacco rates, he likely broke the news about our tobacco disparity, I think his first studies were from the 80s.

Robert Coulter recently volunteered to do something we’d been wanting sorely, an analysis of NIH’s LGBT research (to help us identify gaps). Look for it soon in AJPH!

Jose Bauermeister just presented at NCI on his great lesbian smoking study going on out of UMich, I want to recruit him into doing lots more tobacco research.

Derrick Matthews was one of a few who brought the Network down to U North Carolina Health Disparity Conference a year ago, where we presented our LGBT cultural competency & tobacco training to our largest ever audience of avid listeners.

And this was a trick one, John Blosnich, only shown from the back, is one of our brand new hotshots in tobacco, he’s only a year or so beyond his PhD – but he’s got a cluster of key articles in the peer literature on LGBT tobacco already.

California Elected Officals Take A Stand For Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               

Contact: bob@lgbtpartnership.org

(415) 436-9182

 

LGBT Partnership Announces List of California Elected Officials Who Have Taken a Stand for Health

73 state and local officials signed statements

that they would not accept tobacco industry contributions

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership (LGBT Partnership) today released its “Clean Money” list of state and local elected officials who have agreed to refuse tobacco industry contributions. Each official signed a statement that he or she would not accept donations from tobacco companies or distributors.

Tobacco use, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for nearly six million deaths in the world each year. “Many elected officials told us that they don’t want to have anything to do with the tobacco companies”, said Bob Gordon, member of the San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition and Project Director of the LGBT Partnership. “They understand the terrible costs we all pay in terms of damaged health, lost productivity and shortened lives.” According to the national organization Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in California alone, the tobacco industry spends a half billion dollars every year to market itself, while Californians are left to shoulder $9.1 Billion annually in health care costs directly attributable to tobacco use.

Elected officials joined the signature campaign for several reasons. In a survey conducted by an outside evaluator, several officeholders indicated that the opportunity to sign the statement aligned with their interests. One indicated “This is a good opportunity for legislators to stand out in a positive way”. One staff member, before meeting with advocates, learned for the first time details about how the tobacco industry targets vulnerable populations “how it advertises to African Americans, Latinos, LGBTs, Asian Americans, and to a degree, to young kids—particularly disturbing”.

A full list of elected officials who have signed a no-tobacco statement is available at http://www.center4tobaccopolicy.org/cleanmoney

About the California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership

The California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Tobacco Education is funded by California’s Tobacco Control Program.  The LGBT Partnership advocates for policies limiting tobacco industry donations and reducing the availability of tobacco.

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Upcoming webinar about CDC’s unveiling of “Talk with your doctor” sub-campaign- register today!

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The Network for LGBT Health Equity 
Bringing you awesome Webinars and keeping you in the know! 
 
 
 
 
 

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A new feature of the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign was unveiled this week— “Talk With Your Doctor” (TWYD). The goal of this phase of the campaign is to engage health care providers and encourage them to use Tips as an opportunity to start a dialogue with their patients who smoke about quitting. It is also meant to serve as a reminder for smokers to talk with their healthcare providers about effective methods to help them quit.

As you may remember from our press release about the Tips campaign, “One of the ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ ads features a lesbian who suffers from asthma triggered by working in a smoke filled bar. Recently released data from the CDC shows that LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates that are nearly 70% higher than the general population.” This new phase of the campaign is yet another amazing way to reach out to our communities about this huge disparity!

On Thursday, June 13th, The Network will be teaming up with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) and CenterLink to bring you a webinar discussing the “Talk With Your Doctor” campaign, and the impact that it will have on the health of LGBT communities.

Join us at 2pm EST by registering HERE!

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Network Spotlight Special!

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The Network for LGBT Health Equity 
Bragging about our awesome Network folks…typical. 

 

 

 

There has been a lot of exciting things happening in the Network recently, and we wanted to take a minute to spotlight four amazing folks and what they’ve been up to!

 

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Ani Koch,  previously the Director of Programs at MN Rainbow Health Initiative, stepped down this month after four years working for the advancement of health equity in LGBT communities in Minnesota and the nation.

Ani will be starting a new position at Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Protection. Congratulations Ani, and good luck!

 

 

 

Trudie JacksonTrudie Jackson, Network Steering Committee Member extraordinaire, was named a Transgender Pioneer in the Trans100 list! We are so proud of you Trudie, congrats!

“The inaugural Trans 100 list, composed of transgender people from all over the United States was created with the intention of shifting the coverage of transgender issues by focusing on the positive work that is being accomplished, and providing visibility to those typically underrepresented.”

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To see the full Trans100 list, click HERE!

 

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Congratulations to our friend and colleague Jeffrey Jordan, founder and president of Rescue Social Change Group, for being recognized by The Advocate’s 40 under 40 for his innovative and important work in LGBT Tobacco Control!

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Erica Ferguson, new LGBTQ liaison

 

And last but not least,  we are thrilled to introduce Erica Ferguson as the LGBTQ liaison at the Arizona Department of Health Services – Bureau of Chronic Disease and Tobacco!

Erica’s position will be to work with the LGBTQ communities in Arizona  in addressing tobacco prevention and cessation. We look forward to working with you Erica!