US government targets gay community with $35M ‘stop smoking’ ad campaign

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new ‘stop smoking’ campaign targeted at LGBT people.

The federal agency announced the $35 million campaign this week, citing research that showed that LGBT people are disproportionately likely to be smokers.

According to the FDA, there are an estimated 2 million LGBT young adults in the US – and more than 800,000 smoke occasionally.

The campaign, titled ‘This Free Life‘, is aimed at reaching out to people in the LGBT community and encouraging them to give up smoking – aiming to prevent tens of thousands of potential deaths linked to tobacco use.

Some of the unreleased ads – which were available on the FDA website – feature a diverse range of LGBT people, lesbian and gay clubs, and even RuPaul’s Drag Race alum.

According to a release, the campaign – funded by fees from the tobacco industry – will launch in 12 markets across the US, using print, digital and out-of-home ads, as well as “outreach at the local level” within the LGBT community.

Mitch Zeller of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said: “We know LGBT young adults in this country are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults.

“We want LGBT young adults to know that there is no safe amount of smoking. Even an occasional cigarette can have serious health implications and lead to addiction.”

Richard Wolitski of the Office for HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy said: “‘This Free Life’ is designed to challenge the perception that tobacco use is a necessary part of LGBT culture.

“The campaign shows LGBT young adults they can be the person they want to be and still live tobacco free.”

Watch some of the campaign ads below: