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Today, ACON launched a new and ground breaking tobacco reduction campaign to address the alarmingly high smoking rates for lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women.

#SmokeFreeStillFierce takes a fresh and engaging approach to tackle persistently high smoking rates for LBQ women. Unlike the general population, smoking rates for women in the LBQ communities have not shifted for over ten years, and results that show they are more than twice as likely to smoke as women in the general population.

Announced by the NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, the Cancer Institute of NSW provided funding to ACON, NSW’s leading NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation, to develop a specifically targeted campaign to engage LBQ women

“Our research findings suggest that LBQ women who smoke were well aware of the health impacts of smoking and also knew about smoking cessation strategies. What they wanted was a campaign that spoke to them in positive and inspiring ways, avoiding fear-based imagery or messaging. Most importantly, women wanted to hear about the experiences and quitting strategies from other women in their community.” ACON President Justin Koonin said.

With empowering messages coming from influential community figures, #SmokeFreeStillFierce centres on key messages that will address the relationship that LBQ women have with smoking, such as a means to handle stress, navigate social spaces, form identity and image.

“This is in keeping with ACON’s broader experience of peer based interventions and messaging having the ability to reach our communities where mainstream messaging has struggled.”

In highlighting the importance of this campaign, Dr Koonin added “This is an incredibly important step for ACON. We’ve long wanted to do more to address health issues for women in our communities and we are extremely grateful to the Cancer Institute NSW for funding this initiative and recognising the need to explore more direct and tailored approaches to reducing the rate of smoking in our communities.”

Dr Koonin also recognised the contribution that researchers from the University of Sydney made to the campaign’s development. Dr Julie Mooney-Somers lead the research with LBQ women to get a more detailed understanding of factors that influence attitudes towards smoking, their perspectives of smoking cessation messaging, and strategies for quitting, which informed the campaign.

ACON is also grateful for the support of much loved Queer and Riot Grrrl icons, Kathleen Hanna and Peaches for the use of the music for this campaign, which will assist our ability to engage a diverse range of LBQ women who are thinking about reducing or quitting smoking.

To find out more about the #SmokeFreeStillFierce campaign, visit /smokefreestillfierce


For more information please contact:
David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications Officer
E: T: +61 (02) 9206 2044 M: +61 (0)428 477 042

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