West Virginia --
a state not known for being exactly gay-friendly -- has
allocated $100,000 to fight smoking in the gay and lesbian
community, reports The Charleston Gazette.
Two state groups
each received a $50,000 grant that will go to smoking
cessation programs and marketing. Gay people who chew
tobacco will also be targeted for assistance.
shown that gays are twice as likely to smoke than
heterosexuals. About half of all gay men smoke, the National
Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
Health reports. Lung cancer kills more lesbians than
any other cancer. Among the 50 states, only Kentucky
has a higher rate of smoking than West Virginia.
"HIV isn't our
biggest health threat; it's tobacco," said Jeff Crist,
development director at Covenant House, a Charleston, W.Va.,
nonprofit that is one of the beneficiaries of the
anti-smoking grants. "The gay community has survived
lots over the years. Discrimination. Ostracism. It's
time the whole message gets out about smoking and
tobacco." (Neal Broverman, The Advocate)