It is no secret that many 2SLGBTQIA+ Canadians struggle with stress and anxiety as a result of the stigma associated with being a member of the queer community. Queerphobia still exists in many aspects of our lives. It causes harm to the community at large, as well as taking a toll on our health.
A recent report on the health of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Canada, released by the 2019 Standing Committee on Health, shows that the prevalence of substance use (including smoking / vaping / cannabis) is higher among 2SLGBTQIA+ Canadians than their cisgender and heterosexual counterparts. The 2SLGBTQIA+ smoking rate ranges from 24-45%1, with bisexual individuals averaging the highest in the community. By comparison, just 10-15% of the general population of Canada are daily smokers2. It doesn't help that the tobacco industry actively targets people by advertising smoking as fun, attractive, and relaxing.
It is also no secret that smoking is terrible for your health, and that inhaling smoke is associated with a breadth of health problems, including many lung diseases and cancer.
In the colours of the Pride flag, Red represents Life, and Orange represents Healing. This year for Pride, take Pride in your Health. If you're a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your body, and the health effects of quitting are almost immediate. Choosing to cherish your life and heal your body are an integral part of Pride, so there's no time like the present to take this important step for yourself!
You don't have to go at it alone. One of the best parts of being a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is knowing that you have queer friends and loved ones at home and abroad who support your decisions to live your best life. When you quit, make sure to tell your loved ones; they're there to help you! Helping others is what community is all about.
Happy Pride from your friends at NB-Lung!
If you are looking for help quitting smoking- have a look at our Take the Last Drag: Quit Smoking Tips for 2SLGBTQIA+ People brochure, contact NB-Lung for help, or learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking.
1: Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/HESA/Reports/RP10574595/hesarp28/hesarp28-e.pdf
2: Current smoking rates: Lung Association: https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-info/lung-statistics/smoking-and-tobacco-statistics;
University of Waterloo: https://uwaterloo.ca/tobacco-use-canada/adult-tobacco-use/smoking-canada/current-smoking-prevalence