30 January 2018

City Council helps launch LGBTQ anti-smoking campaign

The city council and its partners have launched a campaign to encourage LGBTQ people to stop smoking.

With the LGBTQ community far more likely to smoke than straight people, an awareness raising drive has started.

The council has teamed up with Switchboard, an LGBTQ organisation in the city, to ensure the community knows there is support available to help them quit.

Switchboard’s Scarlett Langdon, a leading member of the campaign, said: “Most people know the dangers of smoking but wanted some messages that conveyed the dangers in a brighter and more positive way.

“What’s important to people is they don’t feel like they’re being told off. Together we worked to create a campaign that aims to achieve this.”

Figures from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) show that LGB adults are more likely to be cigarette smokers compared to straight adults. A number of local Brighton & Hove LGBTQ residents worked with Switchboard on developing the awareness campaign and some revealed what motivated them to quit smoking.

In a video made by the city council, Eric Page describes his journey to stop smoking, including why he started, how he's tried to quit before, and how he finally gave up with the help of smoking cessation services in Brighton & Hove.

Eric added: “I really felt like I was Bette Davis, and then I remember seeing Bette Davis after having had 4 strokes and been really ravaged by smoking, and I thought ‘actually I’m going to become that if I’m not careful’.”

The council's e-cigarette friendly service offers free one to one support along with licensed stop smoking medications at the cost of a prescription.

The campaign is being run through the LGBTQ health improvement project (HIP), in partnership with the city council.

Scarlett added: “It’s time we came together as a community to raise awareness of the benefits that stopping smoking can have.

“Giving up has immediate health benefits, no matter how long you’ve smoked for. It’s the single best thing you can do for your health.”

More information on kicking the habit, and the support available, can be found at www.switchboard.org.uk/stop-smoking