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History of the Gay American Smoke Out
The Gay American Smoke Out was first introduced in 1994 by the Billy DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center. Typically held on the 3rd Thursday in November, The "Gay American Smoke Out" was created to coincide with the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smokeout". Not meant to compete with ACS's "Great American Smokeout" but to dovetail efforts and target the LGBT community with culturally appropriate messages. Some LGBT communities have held their Gay American Smoke Out in November-others have held their Gay American Smoke Out during the month of June during Pride festivities.

In November of 1997 and with no budget, Seattle hosted their first "Gay American Smoke Out". Hosted by Project ASSIST and the American Cancer Society, they placed one ad in the Seattle Gay News and received requests for a whopping 35 Quit Kits.

Three years later, Gay City Health Project, The Seattle Lesbian Cancer Project, Public Health, The American Cancer Society and Stonewall Recovery Services combined their funds and created a budget of $4500. With this collaborative effort they advertised the Gay American Smoke Out for two weeks in two gay papers and tripled their outreach activities. They hosted booths at the Pink Zone, the Wild Rose, the Broadway Market and IKEA.

In 2000 Seattle distributed nearly 400 Quit Kits in the Seattle area. The first national Gay American Smoke Out was last year (2001) with several organizations participating, 2002 promises to be even better. Jump on board! Start planning your event! It's easy, it's fun and it is important!
The CDC reported in their Youth Risk Behavior Survey that a whopping 59% of teenagers that classified themselves as LGBT reported using tobacco. The national average for straight teens is 35%.
Start planning your event! It's easy, it's fun and it's important!