HRC Applauds New Campaign to Reduce Tobacco Use Among LGBTQ Young Adults

HRC staff

Post submitted by Marcos Garcia, Senior Manager, Health & Aging Program

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new public education campaign that focuses on the nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ young adults between the ages of 18-24 who have stated that they smoke occasionally or “socially.”

Through targeted social media efforts, in-print advertising across 12 key metropolitan areas and partnering with influencers, the “This Free Life” campaign aims at reducing disease, disability and death related to tobacco use among LGBTQ young adults.

LGBTQ young adults are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as their non-LGBT young adult counterparts. HRC’s “Preventing Substance Abuse among LGBTQ Teens” issue brief found that LGBTQ youth also experiment with alcohol and other drugs occurs at twice the rate of their non-LGBTQ counterparts. Further advancing the need for the FDA’s campaign, HRC’s “Health Disparities among Bisexual People” issue brief noted that bisexual adults have elevated rates of smoking and alcohol use compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

“‘This Free Life’ is designed to challenge the perception that tobacco use is a necessary part of LGBT culture,” said Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., Acting Director, Office for HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at Department of Health and Human Services. “The campaign shows LGBT young adults they can be the person they want to be and still live tobacco free.”

Additionally, the campaign’s tagline, “Freedom to be, tobacco free,” aims to capitalize on the process of accepting one’s LGBT identity and determination to live their lives freely.

HRC applauds the FDA for leading this campaign. For more information, please visit

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