Vaping and Smoking in LGBTQ Community: Can we Understand it all?
As with any community that’s surrounded by such a life of alcohol, drugs, sex and high levels of stress, there is going to be a large amount of abuse nicotine abuse. With the recognition of this community becoming more and more popular, the public is starting to identify some of the problems that the community is facing; typically, from stereotypes and a negative attitude from the vast majority.
When people talk about the LGBTQ Community the first thing that comes to mind is a strong community that has a passion for rights to be found in some countries, more importantly; they stress a belief that you should be considered as equal no matter your sexual orientation or beliefs.
Vaping and LGBTQ Community
We know that vaporizers are becoming more and more popular as a substitute for nicotine addictions. Having the ability to remove other dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, using a device that to date is proven to be safer (short term). Regardless of the health considerations that vaporizing may bring in the long run, is it worth using the substitute purely to remove the nicotine addiction, but more importantly; would this change anything? Let’s break this down.
Substituting the Nicotine Addiction – As mentioned previously, vaporizers can be used as an alternative tool to provide nicotine to the body.
The juices the vaporizers use can be smoked with a controlled amount of nicotine. Meaning you could use a vaporizer, smoking juices that contain 8mg nicotine, then gradually work your way down until you’re simply not smoking juices containing nicotine anymore. It has been done before, and many people have used vaporizers as a tool to substitute their nicotine addiction and eventually shake it.
Having a tool such as this in the LGBTQ community would be great. They could shake the nicotine addiction while still having something to feel connected to each other with. Granted, there are still health implications that will come with vaporizers.
Health Considerations of Vaping – So we’ve accepted that in the short term, vaping will provide a lot more mental stability to LGBTQ people. They can fully remove the nicotine addiction from their body; finding that they will only use the vaporizer when they want too. Without the nicotine in the devices, the main harmful chemicals are gone.
Saying that vaping is not 100% safe. Due to the length of time that it’s been around, people simply do not know the long-term risks that are associated with the device. We know in the short-term it’s safer and a lot cleaner, but the future is not obvious.
Taking this into consideration, with the amount of LGBTQ community members committing suicide, should we really care about the long term effects? Or should our main focus be ensuring they’re happy today, right now?
What Would Change – So this is what it all comes down to, if we replaced cigarettes with vaporizers as a tool for providing nicotine to the body, then what would change?
People would have the ability to vape, knowing that they’re not causing that much hard to their bodies. Another thing that people wouldn’t understand unless they’ve smoked and vaped is as follows; When you smoke a cigarette, you provide an amount of satisfaction to your body that will stay there for at least an hour or so, this comes from the nicotine. If you find yourself lighting up another cigarette in short duration between the previous one, you’ll find yourself feeling sick; because of the large amounts of nicotine intake in short succession.
With Vaping, it’s different; you don’t have a set amount of time to use the device as you do with a cigarette, you can turn it on and off when you like. Thus, it gives you a lot more control over the amount you’re putting into your body when people have the control and only put in as much as they like, I can guarantee they won’t smoke as much. After everything, they’re not smoking because they enjoy smoking. They’re smoking because they need the nicotine.
Smoking and the LGBTQ Community
It’s important to understand what the communities do to seek tranquillity and get away from the negativity and hatred. When it comes down to it, the LGBTQ Community is not that large, granted it’s growing in size, but when it comes down to it, they’re a minuscule size compared to some people hating and throwing negativity at them. So when a community of this size receives hatred to this extent what do they do? How do they find union and support?
Why are Smoking Rates Higher in the LGBTQ Community? – It’s thought that people who suffer from Mental Health Conditions seek some relaxation or alternative to keep their mind off things. The most common things that are used is cigarettes. Proved to provide a relaxation state and a feeling of calm; that 5 minutes can make a difference to someone. The majority of LGBTQ Community members use cigarettes as their form of relaxation. It’s known that at least 30% of LGBTQ people smoke cigarettes.
Association through Health Conditions – As mentioned above, when someone suffers from a mental health condition; having a cigarette or some form of stress relief can help them a great amount. Due to the partying culture also associated with LGBTQ Community (more on this below), it’s found that cigarettes are the tool that people go to so they can relax.
The Partying Culture – Although there is a dark side of the LGBTQ community with people staying at home, refusing to socialize and meet new people. There is also an opposite side to the community, some of them have an incredibly lively social life; they can be expected to be going out almost every day of the week.
Furthermore, this brings on Alcohol abuse, Drug abuse, and Smoking abuse. It’s believed that “34% of gay and bisexual males and 29% of lesbian and bisexual females reported binge drinking at least once or twice a week. It is likely to be more than twice as common in gay and bisexual males, and almost twice as common in lesbian, gay and bisexual females”. With these statistics, you can only imagine some cigarettes and drinks they’re also taking when they’re out. Large amounts of cigarette intake can lead to a nicotine addiction which I’ll discuss below.
When you look at the partying culture found in the LGBTQ community and take into consideration why they’re doing it, you start to understand how much the mental conditions and opinions from others affect the community. They feel the only way to get through these dark times is to band together and fight together; when people spend so much time together, habits start to get adopted such as smoking.
Nicotine Addiction – As mentioned above, it’s no secret that smoking cigarettes will eventually lead to a nicotine addiction. When you think about some cigarettes that the LGBTQ community smokes, the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they’re pumping into their body you start to take into consideration the physical damage that is being done.
Cigarettes have been proven to be deadly in the long term and also provide some short-term issues. You can also clearly tell the LGBTQ community has no intention of stopping smoking. So is there anything that can be done as an alternative? Not an alternative to smoking, but an alternative tool to provide nicotine to their systems.
Health Concerns for the LGBTQ Community
Let’s discuss some of the health concerns that apply to the LGBTQ community. When it comes down to it, this community is surrounded by an undeniably huge amount of hatred and negativity, and ultimately this plays a huge part on their mental and physical health. Let’s take a look at some of the most common conditions found within the community and some of the ways they chose to get away and seek tranquillity
Health Conditions Associated with the LGBTQ Community – As mentioned previously, when someone receives a large amount of negativity and lacks acceptance it can commonly be associated with Mental Health conditions or even Physical Health Conditions. It’s important to understand that regardless of your beliefs or opinions; everybody has a heart and everybody will take offense to something one way or another.
With the digital age and people having a lot more access to the internet, it’s more and more common for people to spread hate and negativity to certain communities; the LGBTQ community is one of those. With the large amounts of cyber-attacks being directed to them, there’s no surprise that the community has strong connections to Health Conditions.
Mental Health Conditions – As mentioned above, everyone reacts to things in different ways, but at the end of everything enough negativity can easily push someone over the edge and start suffering. The LGBTQ Community sometimes has a poor understanding from other people, with some not fully understanding their beliefs or simply thinking they’re a “joke”. This lack of support or pure disregard to their beliefs and concerns can ultimately impact their life in such a huge and negative way. Here are some of the most common Mental Health Conditions that members of the LGBTQ community will face.
Depression – With the constant hatred and negativity that they receive, they’ll quickly develop some form of depression. Whether this is because they don’t want to go out, don’t have people to talk to or simply have nobody to rely on. Feeling alone can dramatically affect someone’s health, and this is all too common within the community.
Anxiety – This can easily be associated with depression. When a person excludes themselves from the outside world enough, they will start to associate their condition with other things, which could ultimately make their depression even worse. It’s common to hear the people within the LGBTQ are scared of going outside simply because they’re being attacked physically or verbally. Forcing them to hide away from the outside world, developing a genuine fear of being outside and socializing. Fear is the biggest cause for Anxiety.
PTSD – Although not as popular, this can still be quite a large concern for the LGBTQ community. It’s quite common that every year a large discrimination or hatred attack will be carried out on the community. It was only last year that a terrorist attack was carried out at an LGBTQ Community bar, killing 49 people and wounding 58 to date. With such personal attacks such as this being carried out, survivors or even strong believers in the community can quickly develop a form of PTSD.
Suicide in the LGBTQ Community – This is one of the largest problems within the community, and one of the things that are commonly ignored the most. With all of the negativity, hatred and the mental health conditions that the LGBTQ are found to suffer from, it’s quite common for suicide to be quite a large issue. With many of the people feeling alone, alienated or some form of rejection they tend to feel suicide is the answer. Frankly, it is an epidemic which has been largely known in the community for quite some time.
Statistics for the LGBTQ Community – All of the conditions above are not just assumed to be associated with the communities, there are sufficient evidence and research that has been carried out to support the statements. Here are some important statistics on the matter:
Mental Health Rates – The following statements were collected from an Article written by the LGBT Foundation.
- “LGB people are two to three times more likely than heterosexual people to suffer from depression”.
- “1 in 5 BME lesbian and bisexual (LB) bisexual women have an eating disorder compared to 1 in 20 of the general population.”
- “1 in 4 gay and bisexual (GB) men report being in fair or bad health compared to 1 in 6 men in general.”
- “A third of GB men who have accessed health care services in the last year have had a negative experience related to their sexual orientation.”
- “Across all age groups, LGB people could be seven times more likely to take drugs.”
Suicide Rates – It has been found that LGBTQ Community members are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and/or make suicide attempts. With a lot of the statements listed above playing into this, we can see that suicide is a huge issue in the LGBTQ community. It’s worth mentioning that “60% of HIV in the North West is in Greater Manchester” within the LGBTQ community, this is a huge factor in the suicide rates. It’s clear that there needs to be a lot more information on the subject and a better understanding of the community; when help is needed, it’s quite obviously not there.
So taking everything listed above into consideration, we should have a much better understanding of the LGBTQ community, and how smoking/vaping can be used to effect their life positively and negatively. It’s important to understand that there is a problem, and the problem is getting larger. Ensuring they have the help and support needed to get through such a dark time is important.
I strongly believe that Vaping is a better form of nicotine consumption than smoking, and there are plenty of others that believe the same; here’s to hoping the LGBTQ community feels the same.