The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new report highlighting a significant association between depression and smoking. The report is based on findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2005-2008, and reveals unsettling trends:
Adults who have clinical depression, compared to adults who are not considered to have it, are more likely to be current smokers, and almost half of depressed adults under age 55 smoked. They are also more likely to smoke heavily, and in fact, they were more likely to smoke their first cigarette within 5 minutes of waking up and to smoke more than one pack of cigarettes a day. They were also less likely to quit smoking.
To read more, look at the full report on healthcommunities.com.
These findings have significant (and unsettling) relevance to LGBT communities. We know that people within our communities are twice as likely to smoke than the general population: studies show that LGBT people are 40-70% more likely to smoke than non-LGBT people. This is one of the highest smoking rates out there, even when compared to other disproportionately affected communities.
What's more, LGBT people are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Actually, mental health is a major health concern for LGBT people.
An exerpt from the LGBT Health and Human Services Needs Assessment in New York State conducted last year by the NYS LGBT Health and Human Services Network (a program of the Empire State Pride Agenda) indicates that studies have long found that LGBT people are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Some studies have also suggested that this is due to the greater stress that LGBT people experience. LGBT youth are deeply affected by feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation due to homo/transphobia, lack of support and resources, and are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBT youth.
It is clear that this all makes for a dangerous combination of circumstances, and contributes to risk for a range of serious health concerns.
In regard to smoking, the following resources are great to read through for more information and ideas about how to support one another, or get the kind of support we need, in making decisions and actions toward wellness and healthier lives.
The National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
The Gay American Smokeout
LGBT Tobacco Cessation Fact Sheet (National Coalition for LGBT Health)
iQuit (A Quit Site for LGBT Smokers)