Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Bitch to Quit helps LGBT smokers kick the habit
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times

This article shared 6527 times since Wed May 29, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

People in the LGBT community are two to three times more likely to smoke than their straight counterparts—but it can be a bitch to quit.

That's where Dr. Alicia Matthews comes in. The clinical psychologist and University of Illinois at Chicago professor is organizing LGBT-focused smoking cessation groups at Howard Brown Health Center as part of a larger research study.

Smokers between 18 and 65 can access free six-week sessions, followed by several months of individualized support and nicotine replacements. New groups start every few weeks.

Matthews recently sat down with Windy City Times to talk LGBT health and explain why willpower alone just isn't enough.

Windy City Times: Your study, Bitch to Quit, focuses exclusively on smoking within the LGBT community. Why is that?

Alicia Matthews: We know that, in general, smoking contributes to any number of poor health outcomes—various types of cancer, lung cancer. It also exacerbates chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

What is interesting and important is that we [as an LGBT community] have additional risk factors that make us even more vulnerable.

So, for instance, sexual minority women—that is, gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer-identified women—drink at higher rates than heterosexual women. The combination of heavy drinking and smoking is a significant risk factor for breast cancer and head and neck cancers.

The same thing goes with smoking and higher rates of obesity among LGBT women. That can lead to higher rates of cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks.

Reduction of smoking is a really important area of research. It should be a priority for the community, yet there's been very little work to date.

WCT: What can you tell us about your research? [Matthews' study is the first of its kind.]

Alicia Matthews: This is a federally funded 5-year research grant. We want to answer the basic question: Is a culturally targeted [or LGBT-specific] program more successful in getting LGBT smokers to quit, than a non-targeted smoking cessation program? Which of the two programs is more successful?

We also want to know: What are some of the risk factors that make it difficult for LGBT folks to quit smoking?

WCT: What have you seen so far?

Alicia Matthews: We just started in 2012, so I can't come to conclusions yet. But we do know there is a greater tolerance for smoking in the LGBT community, which means there are fewer incentives to quit. A lot of people in smokers' social groups are smokers themselves, which is a big factor for relapse. There's just easier access to smoking.

LGBT individuals spend more time in bars and are more likely to drink alcohol, which can also lead to relapse.

And the stress associated with 'coming out' or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity can be a unique and additional ongoing chronic stressor. Smoking is often done to stop stress.

WCT: What would you recommend for people who can't make it to Howard Brown, but still want to quit?

Alicia Matthews: The first thing they should do is contact their physician and schedule an appointment. Tell your doctor that you're interested in quitting and see if he or she can prescribe a nicotine replacement or some kind of other medication.

Frankly, the cold turkey approach—that is, just setting a quit date and trying to quit on one's own without any counseling, support or nicotine replacement—doesn't work well. The quit rates are about 1-3 percent.

That percentage goes up significantly with the use of medication. And it's much higher with a combination of medication and some type of counseling.

WCT: Why is quitting cold turkey so unsuccessful?

Alicia Matthews: A lot of people don't realize this, but tobacco, or nicotine, is one of the most addictive substances. Studies have shown people can find quitting smoking as difficult—if not more difficult—than kicking a cocaine or heroine addiction. It's a very, very powerfully addictive substance.

The idea is: You have to have willpower to quit.

Well, if that was the case… Seventy-five percent of all current smokers are interested in quitting, but in any given year, only a small percent actually do. So it's not an issue of willpower. It's an issue of evidence-based treatment.

WCT: Does how long someone's been smoking impact how hard it will be to quit?

Alicia Matthews: Nicotine addiction is really an addiction of adolescence. The vast majority of smokers pick up smoking in their teen years—a time when they're forming their identities and choosing their peer or social networks, which often include other smokers.

So, if a person starts smoking in their teens—and now they're in their 20s or 30s—they're heavily addicted. People describe [quitting smoking] as losing their best friend. 'I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not smoking a cigarette.'

It's a very strongly conditioned behavior. It's something that someone has done 10-20 times a day for 10-20 years.

WCT: What other factors come into play?

Alicia Matthews: The tobacco industry has played a very specific role in targeting the LGBT community. It specifically targeted women in the '50s, '60s and early '70s. The Virginia Slims "You've come a long way, baby" ads associated the image of a strong, successful woman with tobacco use.

The tobacco industry has done similar campaigns with the LGBT community. The industry has made tobacco seem like a normative part of what it means to be queer. The community should be aware that we're being exploited by the tobacco industry for profit.

Those who wish to see if they're eligible for the Bitch to Quit study at Howard Brown Health Center should call 773-388-8868 or visit .

This article shared 6527 times since Wed May 29, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Baldwin leads 22 colleagues in calling on FDA to end discriminatory blood donation policy 2023-03-24
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has headed up a group of 22 colleagues in sending a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf expressing support for the agency's ...

Gay News

Iowa, Georgia ban medical treatment for trans minors 2023-03-24
- Two more states have enacted laws that prohibit medical treatment for transgender minors. On March 22, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law that affect transgender minors in the state, NBC News reported. Senate ...

Gay News

Utah bans conversion therapy 2023-03-23
- On March 22, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill that bans licensed professionals from practicing conversion therapy—the discredited practice that attempts to turn LGBTQ+ people heterosexual—on minors, Q ...

Gay News

US Bishops' statement limits trans health care in Catholic health care facilities, DignityUSA responds 2023-03-22
--From a DignityUSA press release - On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event 2023-03-18
- Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Ritchie Torres, N.J. towns, Karine Jean-Pierre, Tennessee items 2023-03-18
- New York Congressman Ritchie Torres has talked about his own struggle with depression and the importance of mental health in the wake of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.)'s recent hospitalization for clinical depression, The Washington Blade ...

Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill 2023-03-15
- Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...

Gay News

Study: Outcomes for children similar regardless of the LGBTQ+ identity of the children's parents 2023-03-10
--From a press release - NEW YORK — This week a new report was released by BMJ Global Health examining outcomes between LGBTQ+ families and families headed by heterosexual couples. The report, a literature review and synthesis of dozens of academic ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Folx Health, gay mayor arrested, powerlifter's suit, Versace visit 2023-03-10
- Boston-based Folx Health—which provides primary healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare to LGBTQIA people—made Fast Company's list of the world's 50 most innovative businesses. A few of the other healthcare companies ...

Gay News

Minn. governor signs order protecting gender-affirming healthcare 2023-03-10
- At a time when so many political officials seem to be backing anti-LGBTQ+ measures, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is doing just the opposite. On March 8, Walz signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Study examines straight men and their sexual attraction to transgender women 2023-03-09
--From a press release - An analysis of online Reddit conversations also revealed a paradox: the same men devalue both trans and cisgender women Some straight men said they sexually desire transgender women because of the women's supposed hyper-feminine traits. Brandon ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Raunchier Uncoupled on the rebound with Showtime 2023-03-06
- "I never liked when she did this in concerts either. I don't like when females are overly sexualized in art. It degrades and objectivy's [sic] women in a way that's not healthy." —TJ Jackson on reports ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ groups criticize Tenn. bill that bans access to medical care for trans youth 2023-03-03
--From a press release - NASHVILLE — On March 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law HB1/SB1, a bill that prohibits transgender-related healthcare in Tennessee for people under the age of 18. The bill is set to take effect on ...

Gay News

Raoul, IDHR issue guidance on protections against bias related to pregnancy, reproductive health 2023-03-02
--From a press release - Chicago — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) today released a guide on the state's protections against discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and ...

Gay News

Tennessee to ban drag shows; governor asked about '77 drag photo 2023-02-28
- Tennessee will ban some drag performances as well as gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors after state House lawmakers sent both bills to Republican Gov. Bill Lee to sign, The Hill reported. Republican state Senate Majority Leader ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.