Suspicions Confirmed

26 Jun

A higher percentage of lesbians smoke and are overweight than straight women.  I think this, because it’s what I’ve rainbow 1encountered personally.  It’s what I’ve seen at the gay bars, at Pride, in LGBT organizations, in my friend and dating life, on the streets, on television, in movies, and per what I read about famous lesbians.  Now, research backs up my theory.

rainbow 4And it makes sense because marginalized populations are more susceptible to vices.  Anyone who faces discrimination must have a bit of self-hate to overcome.  Plus, if you’re already stigmatized for being gay, what’s the difference if you smoke as well?  Also, the gays have a larger disposable income.  And so they are targeted by advertisers.  And they have more time without kids.  And gays generally want to be around like-people (we all do) so where do you hang out?  Well, at gay bars–where smoking is commonplace.

And the weight issue?  Well, as a feminist, I do not prescribe to the strict beauty standard set by the patriarchy.  And I would guess most lesbians don’t either.  And without that constant pressure, we look–well, more portly as a group.  My guess is rainbow 8that lesbians take more stalk in a personality than physical attributes.    Also, I think a little self-esteem and boundary issues play a part.  Maybe lesbians let themselves go a little.  To prove they don’t need to please men?  To protect themselves with a physical layer of insulation?

Anyway, here are the facts from other sources that back up my claims:

-A new study from Community Marketing, Inc. provides insights about how gay men and lesbians spend their money and live their lives.  Gay men (27 percent) and lesbians (23 percent) smoke cigarettes at higher rates than the national averages for adult men (22 percent) and women (17 percent) (3).  Among rainbow 7homosexuals: 37% of women smoke; 33% of men smoke.  Among heterosexuals: 18% of women smoke; 24% of men smoke (4).

-Researchers say that lesbian women are more likely to smoke, drink and to be overweight, putting them at greater risk of health problems than other women, HealthScout reported April 17 (2).

-Roughly 56 percent of lesbians are current or former smokers, compared to 36 percent of straight women, and gay women are slightly more likely than other women to drink alcohol. Furthermore, about 28 percent of lesbians are obese, compared to 19 percent of heterosexual women (2).

-In all, 11,876 women were involved in the study. Eighty-seven percent of the women surveyed were self-defined lesbians, butterfly glitter rainbowwhile 12% considered themselves bisexual. (The researchers used the term “lesbian” to collectively refer to both groups.) (5).

-Nearly three in 10 lesbians surveyed were obese, compared with about one in five women overall; nevertheless, lesbians were less likely than average to consider themselves overweight (44% vs. 56%). Although there was no significant difference in current alcohol use between lesbians and women overall, the same was not true for problem drinking. More than 12% of lesbians reported having a history of problems with alcohol, a rate far higher than the 4% standardized estimate of women nationally who reported having five or more drinks almost every day. Lesbians were also more likely than average to rainbow 2currently use tobacco (21% vs. 16%) or to have used tobacco in the past (34% vs. 20%) (5).

-A comparison of these data with standardized estimates for all U.S. women suggests that lesbians and bisexual women are significantly more likely to be obese, smoke cigarettes and abuse alcohol (all known cancer risk factors). Furthermore, they are significantly less likely than average to have ever used oral contraceptives and to have ever been pregnant or given birth to a live infant (all shown to be protective against ovarian and endometrial cancer). Lesbians and bisexual women are also less likely than American women overall to have health insurance and to undergo cancer screenings (5).

These figures come from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Published in the August issue of rainbow 9Tobacco Control, they’re based on a review of 42 studies about tobacco use among sexual minorities.

-The massive study was led by Elisabeth P. Gruskin, a public health researcher with Kaiser Permanente, and supported by the California Department of Public Health. Between July, 2003 and March, 2004 it dialed 187,000 telephone numbers in California, screened 31,000 households for eligibility, and completed nearly 3,000 survey interviews with adults, comparing those with the results of rainbow 5existing surveys of all Californians (1).

-Partly due to the tobacco industry’s relentless campaign to target gay men and women through bar promotions, sponsorships, andadvertisements in the queer press, LGBT adults and youth have roughly 40%-70% higher smoking rates than the general population; and bartenders and cocktail servers in LGBT oriented nightclubs are disproportionately exposed to secondhand smoke (7).

-According to the summary of an earlier report from the CDC, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2001:  Estimated smoking rates for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals ranged from 38% to 59% among youth and from 11% to rainbow tiny 150% among adults. National smoking rates during comparable periods ranged from 28% to 35% for adolescents and were approximately 28% for adults (4).

-I’ve just learned from NPR’s All Things Considered that in California, gay men and lesbians are 70 percent more likely to smoke than the general population (4).

-The 898 women participating in the survey divided fairly evenly: lesbian 34.2 percent, bisexual 29.3 percent, and women who have sex with women (WSW) 36.5 percent. The 1052 men showed stark division, with 85.4 percent identifying as gay, 7 percent as bisexual, and 7.6 percent as men who have sex with men (MSM). This gender rainbow fractaldichotomy reflects what seems to be a real difference in the way men and women experience sexual orientation (1).

-gay culture may be more accepting of lifestyle choices. Lesbians may also be less concerned about smoking and drinking because they’re less likely to have children, and more tolerant of weight (2).

-Tobacco companies also advertise heavily in gay magazines. . .  smoking is common in gay bars — often the center of lesbian social life (2).

-Likely explanations include the success of tobacco industry’s targeted marketing to gays and lesbians, as well as time spentlights in smoky social venues and stress from discrimination.” (4).

-As a matter of fact, childless households (whether gay or straight) spend, on average, 56 percent more on cigarettes and alcohol than their childbearing neighbors. (Among households where the parents have some education, the discrepancy is my x-mas 14even larger.) Nor is there anything mysterious about why. First, parents have extra reasons to live long and stay healthy, both so they can be there when their kids need them and so they can enjoy the company of their grandchildren. Second, parents have extra expenses—starting with diapers and continuing through college tuition—that leave less disposable income for cigarettes. Third, a lot of parents don’t like the idea of smoking in front of their children (6).

-Among the general population, 68 percent of women had never smoked, while in the study population those numbers were 43 percent of lesbians, 51.3 percent of bisexual women, and 21.5 percent of WSW.  Gay men were more likely to smoke than the general population (27.3 percent vs. 19.7 percent), while the smoking rates for bisexual and MSM did not differ significantly from the general population (1).sparkle-stripe

-When data from the males and females were combined, the study participants were much more likely to be heavy daily smokers than the general population (G/L 22.2 percent, bisexual 22.6 percent, same-sex partners 29.7 percent) (1).

-People 18 to 24 are more likely to smoke than those who are older (24 percent vs. 20 percent), but they are highly motivated to quit (1).

1.)  http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=25854

2.)  http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/drugs/lesbians-more-likely-to-smoke

3.)  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/08/03/636731/new-survey-provides-unique-insights-into-gay-and-lesbian-consumer-habits/?mobile=nc

4.)  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/07/gays-lesbians-smoking-study-.html

5.)  http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3318301.html

6.)  http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2003/08/why_do_gays_smoke_so_much.html

7.)  http://www.no-smoke.org/learnmore.php?id=461

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