Opinion | A new approach to tobacco harm reduction
According to a new study, the most effective method of cigarette cessation might be battery powered: The advent of e-cigarette technology offers a promising—albeit unconventional—approach to tobacco harm reduction.
If you question the logic of “e-cigs” as a way to mitigate tobacco harm, consider this: Nationally, the number of cigarette smokers in the United States has hovered stubbornly around 20 percent for the better part of the past decade—a problem even more pronounced within the LGBT population.
Even worse, these steadfast smokers seem resilient to the extensive—and expensive—anti-tobacco efforts that have been chugging along in the U.S. for more than two decades.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates that states will spend $481.2 million on anti-tobacco programs this year. But there is little evidence that the millions of dollars spent each year actually affects cigarette sales. According to one analysis, high state spending on anti-tobacco efforts cause—at best—a miniscule drop of just one pack a year per capita.
Put simply, traditional anti-smoking messaging isn’t resonating with tobacco users—and especially if that smoker is gay.
According to a recent study, LGBT Americans are not only more susceptible to tobacco harm—more than twice as likely as their straight counterparts to take up smoking—gay and lesbian men and women are also less receptive to anti-smoking campaigns.
This dichotomy is dangerous, and means that the LGBT community, a cohort with disproportionately high rates of smoking, is also disproportionately resistant to the messages that encourage them to quit.