Share story

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration’s latest anti-smoking campaign takes aim at young adults in the LGBT community, who officials say are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as their peers.

The $35.7-million effort targets the estimated 40 percent of the 2 million LGBT young adults in the U.S. who occasionally smoke. Dubbed the “This Free Life” campaign, the FDA will begin running print, digital and outdoor advertising in 12 markets this week.

FDA officials attribute the higher smoking rate in the LGBT community to the “coming out” process, which can cause anxiety and social stigma that drive people to use tobacco.

Tobacco companies are footing the bill for the campaign through fees charged under a 2009 law that created the FDA’s tobacco regulation program.