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Supporting LGBTIQ+ communities to become smokefree

Did you know: Smoking rates in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities are about double the national average? We're committed to raising awareness of the high smoking rates in LGBTIQ+ communities and supporting people to quit.

Our projects with the LGBTIQ+ community to raise awareness

We have been working with LGBTIQ+ organisations, including Thorne Harbour HealthMinus 18 and Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) to raise awareness of high smoking rates in the LGBTIQ+ community. 

Projects include: 

Smokescreen

Held as part of MQFF 2019, the Smokescreen panel event at ACMI explored the links between queer art, film and culture, and LGBTIQ+ health and human rights.

One of the reasons why smoking rates in LGBTIQ+ communities are double compared to the general population is because of tobacco companies' marketing tactics which have exploited queer popular culture. 

Research shows that movies with LGBTIQ+ themes contain a depiction of tobacco use every 15 minutes!

Smokescreen was hosted by Australian author, journalist and screenwriter Benjamin Law. 

The panel discussion included:

  • Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality
  • Dr Julie Mooney-Somers, Senior Lecturer in Qualitative Health Research at the University of Sydney.
  • Cerise Howard, Co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque, co-founder of tilde: Melbourne Trans and Gender Diverse Film Festival, and Artistic Director of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia.
  • Patrick Abboud, SBS journalist, founder of The Feed, and co-host of Mardi Gras.
  • Colin Batrouney, Director of Health Promotion, Policy and Communications at Thorne Harbour Health.
  • Todd Harper, CEO Cancer Council Victoria

Keep the Vibe Alive

The 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) Keep the Vibe Alive short-film competition winners are Fuming created by Sam McGowan and The Third Wheel by Millie Hayes (watch them below).

Announced at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival program launch, both films uniquely highlight the issue of smoking in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer+ (LGBTIQ+) community.

The other two Keep the Vibe Alive finalists were Sebastian Berto with Worm Lurve, and Brigitte Haviland and Amber Kinnear with their creation, Vibe-raters

Screenwriter and member of the competition judging panel, Benjamin Law, said all four films were of an exceptional standard.

“We were blown away by the fact over 40 people entered the competition, and were even more staggered with the quality of the entries," Law said. "We’re so grateful for everyone who invested their time and effort to support social justice across our communities. It was hard boiling those entries down to a shortlist, and it seems virtually impossible for voters to decide on a winner. Hence, why we have a tie!"

The competition attracted an incredible 4000-plus people who either watched or voted for their favourite film.

The competition helps us and our partners at MQFF, Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health start a conversation about the normalisation of smoking in the LGBTIQ+ community.

Winning filmmakers Sam and Millie were awarded $4,000 each. Their films aired before each 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival screening.

Quitline is a culturally safe space

In January 2019, we worked with LGBTIQ+ communities to continue to make Quitline an inclusive and a culturally safe space. Quit Specialists can chat to LGBTIQ+ communities in a culturally appropriate and accessible way. 

LGBTIQ+ peers also work in the service. 

Since this recent collaboration, calls to the Quitline from LGBTIQ+ communities have increased. 

Quit Specialists offer personalised support over your quitting journey. They can help plan, make and sustain your quit attempt. 

Calling Quitline — 13 7848 or request a callback — increases the chance of quitting. 

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