The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will target West Hollywood and the rest of the county’s gay community with its “Break Up with Tobacco” stop-smoking campaign.
The campaign, which uses a romance theme, will use street teams to approach gay men around nightclubs and gyms in West Hollywood, where 40 percent of residents identify as gay men, to encourage them to stop smoking. It also will be staged in other areas of Los Angeles County where gay people congregate and will use social media.
The Public Health Department’s 2011 Los Angeles County Health Survey reported that 13.1 percent of county residents smoked, a decline from findings in 2007, which showed 14.3 percent of residents smoked. The decline in smoking across California has resulted in a decrease in deaths from cancer and lung disease.
However the percentage of smokers in the LGBT community — 20.6 percent — is twice that in the heterosexual community. The rate is especially high — 60 percent — among those using drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine or ecstasy, which are common in the gay community.
The “Break Up with Tobacco” campaign’s romance theme includes ten reasons for stopping smoking, playing on common explanations one romantic partner gives another for ending a relationship. Among them are “I want to see other people,” “our relationship has become toxic” and “all you care about is money.” More information about the campaign is available online.