The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community faces adversity from social stigma and exclusion. This increases their likelihood of engaging in high risk behaviors, like tobacco use, and could result in negative health outcomes. Smoking continues to be the LGBTQ community’s biggest health burden.1

The lack of routine data collection leads to minimal information on how to support the LGBTQ community, and hinders funding and policy decisions that are inclusive.


One survey has shown that 22% of the transgender community smokes, while 51% who work in the underground economy currently use tobacco.2 Underground economies are usually cash transactions that are not reported to the government, which include selling narcotics to mowing lawns for extra money. We have limited data on this population, and it is necessary to draw from other studies to assess the need.

Check out this list for definitions from the Human Rights Campaign of LGBTQ terminology.


Sexual Orientation: An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.3

  • 4 in 10 adults have been discriminated against in the workplace based on their sexual orientation4
  • Nearly 50% of LGB adults have been rejected by a friend or family member since coming out4
  • 7 out of 10 youth were verbally harassed based on sexual orientation5
  • 3 out of 10 youth were physically harassed based on sexual orientation5


Gender Identity: One's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.3

  • 8 out of 10 transgender adults have faced some form of transgender-related discrimination in the workplace2
  • Over 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide vs. 4.6% of the general population2
  • 6 out of 10 youth were verbally harassed based on gender identity5
  • 7 out of 10 youth regularly heard negative remarks about transgender people5

For Coalitions

  • Engage in partnerships with agencies that support the LGBTQ community
  • Attend Pride fests, parades, and other regional events that support the LGBTQ community and allow for information sharing on the burden of tobacco
  • Provide information to local, regional, and national policy makers on the burden of tobacco specific to the LGBTQ community
  • Write LTEs that highlight tobacco-related disparities in the LGBTQ community and promote the Quit Line

For Members

  • Partner and collaborate with LGBTQ organizations
  • Volunteer at local agencies
  • Learn more and share with family, friends, and colleagues

LGBTQ Information

  • Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE) : GSAFE increases the capacity of LGBTQ+ students, educators, and families to create schools in Wisconsin where all youth thrive
  • GSAFE list of GSAs : List of Gay-Straight Alliances and similar clubs in Wisconsin Schools
  • GLBT Near Me : Find the closest social and support resources, community centers, youth groups, supportive religious organizations, and more
  • Transgender FAQ : Learn more about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Acquire resources on the transgender community
  • Human Rights Campaign : Learn more about the LGBTQ community and specific policies that exist or are currently being advocated for
  • Trevor Project : The mission of The Trevor Project is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people. The Trevor Project website is comprehensive and offers multiple resources for LGBTQ youth and their allies

Tobacco-Specific Information

  • LGBT Health Link : One of the CDC's national networks to reduce health disparities. It is a community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by reducing tobacco-, cancer-, and other health-disparities within our communities


  1. BRFSS (2014), YRBS (2007, 2009, 2011 combined dataset)
  2. U.S. Transgender Survey (2015)
  3. Human Rights Campaign (2016)
  4. The Williams Institute (2011). Documented Evidence of Employment Discrimination & Its Effects on LGBT People
  5. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (2013). GLSEN School Climate Survey
  6. National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2011)

Related Resources