'Proud 2B smokefree'

Published: 09 March 2016 Tags: Cancer, Smoking, Vaping By John Walding

Proud 2B Smokefree is an ongoing project around smoking and vaping which aims to highlight the disproportionate numbers of lesbian,gay,bisexual and trans (LGBT) people who both smoke, vape or combine the two, and explore how this may link to an increased risk of developing many different types of cancer.

The project is being taken forward by the LGBT Cancer Support Alliance, a group of health care professionals, charities, academics and people affected by cancer, from across the North West.

Stopping smoking is the single most important thing we can do to reduce our risk of developing cancer. Besides the obvious risks to our lungs, cigarette smoke and the chemicals it contains are known causes of a whole range of different cancer types, including cancers affecting the head, neck, mouth and throat.

Smoking accounts for one in four cancer deaths in the UK.

LGBT people are significantly more likely to smoke than many other groups. For example:

Sexual minority (i.e., lesbian, gay, and bisexual) adults smoke cigarettes at higher rates than heterosexual adults. Smoking after receiving a cancer diagnosis is a major health concern.

One current study 'Smoking disparities among sexual minority survivors' (Kamen et al, 2015) examines current smoking among LGB vs. heterosexual adult cancer survivors.

Lesbian & Bisexual Women

Two thirds of lesbian and bisexual women have smoked compared to half of women in general,just over a quarter are active smokers (Hunt & Fish, 2008)

Gay & Bisexual Men

33% of gay men are smokers, compared to 21% of heterosexual men (Tang H et al,2004).

Public Health England research on smoking concludes that just 20% of heterosexual men smoke, compared to 25% of gay men, 26% of bisexual men, and 21% of other men who have sex with men.


Trans people are more likely to smoke cigarettes regularly compared to all other survey respondents (All Partied Out -Rainbow Project, 2012).

A Canadian study 'Trans People & Cancer' (Transcend Transgender Support & Education Society) suggests that many trans people use smoking and alcohol to cope with stress associatedwith transphobia.

Proud 2 B Smokefree Survey - LGBT Smoking & Vaping

Although the LGBT Cancer Support Alliance recognise the potential that e-cigarettes may have in helping people cut down smoking of real tobacco (what professionals describe as a ‘harm reduction approach’), and in comparison to tobacco smoke is a comparatively safer alternative, the LGBT Cancer Support Alliance also feel that more research is required to strengthen the evidence to support their use as a therapeutic tool for individuals at risk or already affected by cancer who wish to stop smoking. Members of the LGBT community also use a combination of cigarettes and vaping on a regular basis. This is why the Alliance has chosen to include vaping in the survey.

You can access the Proud2Bsmokefree survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LGBTSA

LGBT Cancer Support Alliance

If you are affected by cancer or would like to know more about the Proud 2 B Smokefree project or the LGBT Cancer Support Alliance please contact via twitter: @LGBTCancerSA

You can also contact the Alliance via LGBT Foundation, email: andrew.gilliver@lgbt.foundation