Australia’s National Drug and Strategy Household Survey found that the LGBT+ communities use of tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other drugs is higher than heterosexuals.

The daily tobacco smoking rate among gay, lesbian, and bisexual people has been on a long-term decline, from 28 per cent in 2010 to 14.2 per cent in 2022-2023, however, they are still two times as likely as heterosexual people to smoke daily. 

While the daily smoking rate has dropped within the community, more than one in five (21 per cent) of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people reported using e-cigarettes, this was almost triple of what was reported in 2019 (7.1 per cent). Almost one in two gay, lesbian, and bisexual people had used e-cigarettes at some point in their lifetime (46 per cent).

There was also a substantial increase in the number of queer people who both smoked and used e-cigarettes from 3.8 per cent in 2019 to 7.8 per cent. 

Queer university student, Alex Paige started smoking tobacco at the age of 16.

“For me at the time, it was definitely encouraged by the stresses in my life. I was finishing school, I had a stressful family life,” she said. 

“Smoking at the time is something that took the stress off my back.”

Risky drinking (drinking more than ten standard drinks per week on average, or more than four standard drinks in a single day at least monthly) has also decreased within the community, from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. While this decrease is significant, gay, lesbian, and, bisexual people were 1.2 times more likely than heterosexual people to consume alcohol at risky levels.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people had a substantial increase since 2019 when looking at illicit drug use, jumping from 40 per cent in 2019 to 47 percent. After adjusting for differences in age, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people were 2.4 times more likely than heterosexual people to have used any illicit drug in the previous twelve months. 

While there has been a drop in risky drinking and tobacco smoking in the queer community, there is still significant use of e-cigarettes and illicit drugs. With the enforcement of harsher e-cigarette and vaping laws, there is hope that the number of people using these devices will drop.