New campaign encourages LGBTQ+ smokers to start quit journey

A new campaign developed by ACON is encouraging LGBTQ+ folks who smoke to take their first step, or continue on their journey to quitting.

Partnering with the Cancer Institute NSW, the This Could Be The One campaign is specifically tailored for sexuality and gender diverse communities.

The campaign acknowledges the challenges of quitting smoking through the lens of LGBTQ+ people, and celebrates the hope that their next attempt could be their last.

Australian data shows that smoking rates among LGBTQ people are much higher than in the general population, with LBQ women aged under 24 smoking at more than twice the rate of the general population. International research finds smoking rates among bisexual and transgender people even higher than their cisgender lesbian or gay counterparts.

ACON Deputy CEO Karen Price said the campaign responds to the need to encourage our communities to quit smoking and reduce cancer risk among LGBTQ+ people.

“Evidence suggests that people who quit smoking often make multiple attempts to quit before success. This campaign encourages people who smoke to make an attempt because every attempt is one step closer to quitting for good,” Price said.

“Smoking causes 16 different types of cancer and with significantly higher smoking rates, many people in sexuality and gender diverse communities will be impacted. This Could Be the One acknowledges the challenges of overcoming nicotine addiction and encourages people who smoke in a non-judgemental way to make another attempt to quit smoking.”

Featuring a series of scenarios, the campaign video shows a range of LGBTQ community members in situations where cigarette cravings can be high and encourages people who smoke to make an attempt at quitting.

“Most people who smoke are aware of the harms of smoking and want to quit, and LGBTQ people are no different,” Price said. “Many of us require help with quitting, so this campaign also directs people to support options to assist them to take this important step.”

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Institute NSW, Sarah McGill, said partnering with ACON was key to reaching LGBTQ communities who are overrepresented in smoking rates, and as a result, are at higher risk of poorer health outcomes.

“Cancer knows no boundaries and everyone, no matter who they are and what their identity, needs to know how they can reduce the risk of cancer by ending their smoking habits. It is a key priority of the NSW Cancer Plan that we are able to reach and engage with everyone at risk,” Ms McGill said.

“It’s so important that we partner with community organisations like ACON, as they have trusted relationships and a strong track record of engaging with LGBTQ communities in specific ways targeted to their needs.”

Price said the campaign was informed by consultation workshops and focus groups comprising of both people who smoke and quit smoking from LGBTQ communities, who spoke about their unique quit smoking experiences.

“Historically and culturally, smoking has a strong connection with social situations in LGBTQ communities. As a community that has been stigmatised in many ways throughout our lives, it was important we developed a campaign that doesn’t ostracise people who smoke in our communities,” Price said.

“Instead, we want to draw people in and together by engaging in a conversation and supporting each other through our quit journeys. Working with focus groups of diverse LGBTQ community members who smoke or quit smoking, we developed an inclusive campaign that depicts real life situations where they struggle to beat their craving and that prompts behaviour change.”

This Could Be the One is the latest in ACON’s suite of cancer awareness initiatives developed with the support of the Cancer Institute NSW, and produced under ACON’s cancer prevention resource, Can We.

Along with a video, This Could Be the One features out-of-home advertising across NSW, including in regional areas, in print, digital, social media and radio.

The campaign showcases the diversity of LGBTQ communities in NSW and includes First Nations people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The campaign also features entertainers DJ Victoria Anthony and drag queen Fairah Nuff.

“ACON is grateful to the Cancer Institute NSW who continue to work in close partnership in supporting our community-led campaigns,” Price concluded.

“As always, we are also deeply grateful to the community members and groups for helping to shape and get behind this important campaign.”

Find out more about the campaign at canwe.org.au/wecanquit


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