There are many examples in popular culture where smoking is used to enhance the ruggedness, independence, mystery, or glamour of a character. These cultural images are powerful, but in reality, smoking does nothing but harm.
Some LGBTQ+ people may believe that smoking gives off physical cues that express their gender identity or sexuality. They may think smoking reflects their masculinity or femininity. But tobacco use interferes with healthy self-expression in many ways. For transgender people, tobacco use can interfere with hormone therapy and increase the risk of complications such as blood clots.
Some people use tobacco to reduce their appetite and prevent weight gain. This is a particular problem among gay men who are more affected by eating disorders. While you may be concerned about gaining weight when quitting smoking, there are ways to prevent weight gain after quitting. And being smokefree means living a healthier life.
It may be hard to fully express your gender and sexuality. There is nothing masculine, feminine, or rebellious about the harm that smoking can do to your body. Don’t fall for the images of smoking sold to you by tobacco corporations.
There are plenty of ways to express yourself that don’t involve smoking. Try to find ways that won’t cause permanent damage to your body like smoking does. You can look for ways to express yourself that also contribute to your health and well-being. Choose activities that make a statement about what’s most important to you and your values.