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Engaging LGBTQ Coloradans in a Fight for Life

By May 15, 2017April 30th, 2024No Comments

LGBTQ people struggle in many factors that make up the social determinants of health. We’re still discriminated against. Our rights are continually under attack.

As a member of the LGBTQ community, I can say it feels like there is a lot of losing.

But there is one place where we’re “winning”: It’s our use and addiction to tobacco products. In fact, we’re killing it.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual Coloradans are more than twice as likely as their straight peers to use tobacco products. More than 30,000 LGBTQ Americans die each year of tobacco-related diseases.

It was high time to do something about it.

SE2 helped the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) develop a new campaign to educate LGBTQ Coloradans about the prevalence of tobacco addiction in the community and offer resources to help them quit.
The campaign, which we simply called Strength, was informed by statewide focus group conversations with LGBTQ Coloradans. In those groups, we learned that LGBTQ individuals are not unlike other, straight smokers – they smoke for the same reasons; they quit for the same reasons; they experience many of the same life struggles.

However, what became clear in the groups was the sense of community they feel with other LGBTQ Coloradans and their belief in their strength to overcome – which they have done so many times as they fight for equality. That strength became the theme for the campaign.

The campaign taps real LGBTQ Coloradans and encourages them to share their stories, whether that story is about their dislike of their addiction, how they have overcome it, or why they decided to avoid tobacco products altogether.

The campaign begins running this month and will continue through the summer. It includes a large paid, digital media campaign and our collaborations with LGBTQ influencers disseminate campaign messages and stories through social media and events.

Our Work

About the Author:

Brandon Zelasko (he/him), a Principal at SE2, is a dynamic force passionate about innovation, education, and community engagement. Beyond his professional role, Brandon embraces diverse interests, from painting to exploring the outdoors with his husband and rescue dog, Burger. Dubbed “Brandopedia” for his insatiable curiosity and wealth of knowledge, Brandon champions education equity, advocating for alternative pathways beyond traditional college routes. At SE2, Brandon’s commitment to innovation and growth drives him to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives through creative problem-solving and community involvement.

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