Home Pub bar LGBTQ are ready for smoke-free outdoor patios this Pride

LGBTQ are ready for smoke-free outdoor patios this Pride

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It’s Pride 2022, and we’re back on the streets to celebrate in person again! Afterwards, many of us will continue the party in the bars with family and friends. In San Francisco and Oakland, however, if you head out to the bar terrace for some fresh air, you might find something else in your lungs: second-hand smoke and vape.

Unlike more than 50 other cities in the Bay Area, San Francisco and Oakland allow smoking and vaping tobacco on bar patios. Consuming cannabis in any way on a bar patio is against state law, but you can still smell something special on many bar patios. I know I have.

Whether this patio pollution comes from a cigar, cigarette, joint, blunt, or even a vape, it poses health risks not just to the user, but to anyone else. inhale it. It’s not a controversial idea. At Carnival last month, LGBTQ Minus Tobacco surveyed 106 people who said they enjoyed San Francisco’s nightlife. Ninety-six percent agreed there was at least some harm from breathing in second-hand smoke or vaping, while 70% said it was “very harmful.”
They are right. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand vaping, which is not a “vapor” but an aerosol. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand cannabis smoke. Why, then, do we use these substances in our community spaces?

We turn to tobacco and cannabis as forms of self-medication to cope with the stress of existing in a world that is not ready for us. Even during Pride month, even in the queer city of 40 or so hills that is San Francisco, we are stressed. Along with other axes like race, class, ability, and immigration status, it’s still not easy to be queer. We micro-dose the stress of being gender-bad and having weird looks, swimming in it in unsupportive social environments, and not even thinking about the background sinking of the foundations of our human rights. existence that are collapsing across the country.

It is therefore not surprising that homosexuals smoke and vape at much higher rates than the general population. Whether breathing heated particles that inflame the airways constitutes self-help or self-harm may be a matter of perspective, but it’s time for us to think beyond ourselves. A person in need of a coping mechanism is no justification for subjecting others to what is literally slowly killing them.

It sounds melodramatic, but it’s not. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke kills more than 40,000 people in the United States each year, although those exposed breathe much less than smokers. Most secondhand smoke is secondhand smoke, which comes from the hot end of whatever is being smoked. Second-hand smoke is more toxic than the mainstream smoke exhaled by the smoker, and its toxicity only increases when it lingers in the air.

Due to federal research restrictions, the same cannot be said about second-hand cannabis smoke. What we do know is that it contains toxins similar to second-hand tobacco smoke. Likewise, due to the newness of vaping products, the same cannot be said for second-hand vaping aerosols. Yet we know it contains respiratory irritants and carcinogenic compounds.

Despite our higher smoking and vaping rates, our communities have long supported smoke-free spaces. In 2011, 78% of the 580 people surveyed who attended San Francisco Pride events said they had been to gay bars and clubs with patios around the city and agreed that they were “bothered by second-hand smoke in outdoor public spaces.

More recent data shows that smokers believe that smoke-free zones can help them quit smoking. In May and June 2021, We Breathe, the statewide coordinating center for reducing LGBTQ tobacco-related disparities, and Harder + Company conducted a survey of 1,012 LGBTQ adults living in California. All had used tobacco or nicotine in the past month. Forty-three percent were trans or non-binary. Almost two-thirds of respondents believed that smoke-free outdoor restaurants and bars are effective in helping people quit smoking, including 82% of trans women and 72% of trans men.

Trans people on hormone replacement therapy like me know the importance of drugs that are in some unpopular spaces and hard to get. One difference, however, is that the things that enter our bodies and give us glorious second puberties don’t linger in the air. There is no used HRT. There is secondhand smoke. There is second-hand vaping. There is second-hand cannabis.

If you’re not ready to quit, but want to be considerate of others while you celebrate, you can always hit the pavement. If you’re ready to quit, free confidential help is available from a variety of sources: phone or chat counseling is available from Kick It California, whose counselors are trained in LGBTQ cultural competency; UCSF (415-885-7895) and Berkeley ([email protected]) offer group classes for all Bay Area adults; BecomeAnEx offers an SMS app and program; Truth Initiative offers a texting program for teens and young adults to quit vaping – text DITCHVAPE to 88709. Visit our Quit Smoking/Vaping page for more information.

Have a happy, safe, smoke-free and vape-free pride!

Amaya Wooding (her) is the Project Coordinator at LGBTQ Minus Tobacco. The organization will be featured at San Francisco Pride this weekend. Find them near Golden Gate Avenue and Larkin Street. Be sure to get one of their smoke-free patio llama stickers.

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