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New Quit campaign unveiled to support the queer community

Posted 22 May, 2024

New Quit campaign unveiled to support the queer community, as data reveals LGBTIQA+ Victorians twice as likely to smoke, less likely to successfully quit

Quit has launched a new campaign, ‘Quit with Pride’ to support LGBTIQA+ communities to stop smoking. The campaign was borne out of new data revealing significantly higher smoking rates and lower rates of successful quitting amongst LGBTIQA+ Victorians.

The data from Cancer Council Victoria’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer shows 23% of bisexual and 21% of gay or lesbian respondents reported being a smoker, compared to 14% who identified as heterosexual. Additionally, the proportion of people who had successfully quit was significantly lower among gay, lesbian, bisexual individuals, and those who used different terms to describe their sexual orientation, compared to heterosexual individuals.

The ‘Quit with Pride’ campaign encourages community members battling nicotine dependence to ‘find their why’ to quit smoking and seek support from culturally sensitive services such as Quitline.

Featuring personal stories from members of the community who have successfully quit, the campaign highlights the uniqueness of each person's journey and emphasises that it can look different for everyone.

Community advocate, Matilda Mercury stopped smoking years ago and said their dad was their ‘why’ for quitting.

“He had smoked even longer than I did [11 years], he was battling quitting. He was doing his best but couldn't quite get to this next step. He's no longer with us. It would've been great to have started that journey and finished it together but at least I could continue that for him. It’s really, really nice," Matilda said.

Matilda reiterated that having a supportive team around them was key to helping them stop smoking and encouraged others to lean on their support systems to help them stay quit.

“Keep going. It’s okay to have those moments when you think “I don’t want to do this anymore!”. Have those moments, then take a step back, take a deep breath and realign yourself with your goals. Lean on your support system. Lean on Quit. Give them a call,” Matilda said.

Quit Director, Rachael Andersen focused on the importance of a campaign dedicated to supporting priority communities with higher smoking rates, to quit.

“At Quit, we recognise the significant physical, financial, and social challenges that smoking can cause, along with its widely known impact on illness and premature death,” Andersen said.

“The ‘Quit with Pride’ campaign is just one example of our commitment to working with diverse communities where we know smoking rates are still too high. We acknowledge the unique experiences of LGBTIQA+ people and encourage those who are looking to quit, to contact Quitline for support at any stage of their quitting journey,” Andersen added.

Dr Sandro Demaio, CEO of VicHealth – a key partner of Quit – said he hoped the campaign would inspire community members to find their personal reasons for quitting and reach out to Quitline for support.

"Smoking is highly addictive and harmful, and VicHealth is proud to partner in the ‘Quit with Pride’ campaign, to build community capacity and raise awareness of Quit services as a source of personalised, culturally sensitive, and accessible support for those looking to overcome nicotine addiction," Demaio said.

The 'Quit with Pride' campaign will run from May 20 to June 30, featuring targeted outdoor advertising, radio advertisements on JOY 94.9, and in selected print media.

For support to stop smoking and vaping call Quitline 13 7848 or visit Support is also available via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, text, request a call back and live chat.


Media contact:

Prue Gildea - Quit Senior Media Advisor 0400 394 274

About the research:

The Victorian Smoking and Health Survey assesses a range of smoking-related attitudes and behaviours, and gauges public opinion on tobacco policy measures. The data from the 2018-2019 and 2022 surveys was analysed by Cancer Council Victoria's Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer in the Tobacco smoking prevalence, consumption and quitting among Victorian adults: Findings from the 2018-19 and 2022 Victorian Smoking and Health Surveys.

Key survey findings featured in this media release include:

Proportion of respondents who were current smokers in 2022:

  • 21% gay or lesbian respondents

  • 23% bisexual respondents

  • 14% heterosexual respondents.

Proportion of respondents who had quit smoking for at least 12 months:

  • 52% gay or lesbian respondents

  • 40% bisexual respondents

  • 63% heterosexual respondents.

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