The Rainbow Tobacco Intervention Project (RTIP) is seeking your help with Toronto’s first ever survey to determine the smoking rates of LGBTTQ communities.

Research tells us that smoking rates are higher in many LGBTTQ communities, but there has never been any research done in Toronto. Most of the research that exists has been done in the U.S. and a few studies have been done in British Columbia. These studies show that the rates of smoking in LGBTTQ communities generally range between 30-40% compared to 20% in the general population. Also, most of the research has actually been conducted on gay men and lesbians with few studies including bisexual people. No studies have been done on transsexual and transgender communities.

RTIP is conducting the Toronto Rainbow Tobacco Survey to try and determine the smoking rates among local queer and trans people to see if Toronto is similar or different to other urban communities. By surveying bisexual people and trans people as well, RTIP hopes to understand more and raise awareness about smoking in these communities. The knowledge gained from the short survey will help RTIP to develop better programs and services and to advocate for more funding.

RTIP is a committee of community partners including the Canadian Cancer Society, CAMH Nicotine Dependence Clinic, Council for Tobacco Free – Toronto, Rainbow Health Network, Sherbourne Health Centre and Toronto Public Health. Their objectives are to provide smoking cessation programs and raise awareness of tobacco related health issues to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Transgender and Queer communities in Toronto.

“We want to hear from all LGBTTQ people, whether they are nonsmokers, ex-smokers or current smokers, and we need everyone’s help to get the word out”, says Michele Clarke, Health Promoter at Sherbourne Health Centre and a member of the research team.

The anonymous and confidential survey is available online at www.rainbowtobacco.com. It is very short and should take just a few minutes to complete.

“We encourage all community members to become advocates for this research. It has never been done before in Toronto and it hasn’t been done in that many places, to be honest, “says Clarke. “We need people to help us advertise the survey and encourage everyone to participate by sending our email notice to their friends, group members and clients.”

The research team has also had the survey printed on postcards and they will be attending various LGBTTQ community events and meetings between May and early July to conduct surveys in person.

For more information about the Rainbow Tobacco Intervention Project or the Toronto Rainbow Tobacco Survey, please contact Michele Clarke at 416.324.4177 or mclarke@sherbourne.on.ca