Monday, June 4, 2012

“Lick It!”

How many licks does it take to quit smoking?
Main Street of New Mexico's largest Gay Pride celebration will be smoke-free for the second year in a row.
Following on its success last year, Fierce Pride (an LGBTQ health advocacy organization) will again make the Pride celebration at Expo NM more convenient to all attendees by making Main Street smoke-free. This year, non-smoking parents, grandparents, and children will be able to participate in the celebration without being exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke.  Smoking will be allowed in designated areas off of Main Street.

Fierce Pride organizers have worked for several years to rid the family-friendly event of smoking. “Pride is an opportunity for celebration and for community dialogue,” says Fierce Pride Coordinator Rebecca Dakota. “It is a chance for the LGBTQ community to affirm cultural movement towards being healthier, including embracing being tobacco-free.”

The “Lick It!” campaign focuses on supporting tobacco users to quit tobacco by using the site or the 1-800-QUIT NOW telephone quit line.  Both are free and provide services in both English and Spanish.  Many smokers require several “quits” before they are completely tobacco-free;  hence the “How many licks does it take?” tag line for the campaign.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that social stress, frequent patronage of bars and clubs, higher rates of alcohol and drug use, and direct targeting of LGBTQ consumers by the tobacco industry may be related to higher prevalence rates of tobacco use among some LGBTQ people.

“Tobacco companies justify their targeting of the LGBTQ community as strategic marketing and LGBTQ people in New Mexico are about twice as likely to smoke as non-LGBTQ adults,” says Dakota. “We know that cigarettes are no solution to the stress of marginalization that LGBTQ people in this country experience.  And with high smoking rates, we also have more disease and death from tobacco-related causes.  So we’re all about reducing that stress and saying ‘no’ to tobacco.”

“Fierce Pride wants to leverage that support for smoke-free environments and really tell these tobacco companies that they have no place on Main Street,” says Dakota. “This is what we know LGBTQ people want for their health and for the general health of New Mexicans. Thanks to the cooperation and vision of Albuquerque Pride there’s a great deal of hope.

Fierce Pride is a community-led project working to reduce health disparities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, transgender, queer, and questioning communities in New Mexico.  Fierce Pride operates under the auspices of the non-profit Media Literacy Project and can be reached at

 Hakim Bellamy,
Strategic Communications Director

Reposted at

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