Anti-Smoking Ads Aimed at LGBT Community

SAN FRANCISCO A new advertising campaign launched today in California focuses on helping lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders stop smoking.

The print ads, created by Better World Advertising in San Francisco, proclaim that tobacco-related lung cancer causes more deaths in the LGBT community than AIDS, drugs, breast cancer and gay-bashing combined.

The work features real people who have triumphed over adversity such as drug addiction, homelessness and prostitution, and are using that strength to quit smoking.

“For a whole host of reasons, the LGBT community has a much higher rate of smoking than the general population,” said BWA vice president David Windt. “In particular, gay adolescents start smoking as a form of rebellion. They have so few options to express themselves and the most obvious way to act out at this age is to smoke.”

In one of the black-and-white ads, copy declares, “I didn’t survive drugs and alcohol so I could die from lung cancer.” Accompanying the text is a photograph of a San Francisco woman named Selma, standing in a playground.

“The ad was photographed in the very playground where Selma first started smoking as a child,” said Windt. “These people are survivors.”

The campaign includes eight ads that will run for 11 to 12 months in regional gay publications including Bay Area Reporter, Point Newspaper and OutNow in Northern California and Frontiers and The Lesbian News in Southern California.

The campaign’s budget is $100,000, and the ads are sponsored by the Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center in San Jose, Calif., the Center Orange County and the American Legacy Foundation, a public health organization dedicated to smoking cessation. The foundation is funded by the Master Settlement Agreement of 1999, made between the tobacco industry and a coalition of state attorneys general nationwide.