Is this not a good sign in some ways? It says that a group is large enough to target, worthy of making an attempt to sway. It says that corporate America is waking up to the fact that gays and lesbians exist. If Chevy targeted the gay community with advertising for the Volt (or corvette) would anybody care? I know that is not the "right" response, but tonight I just can't seem to care that the evil tobacco companies are "targeting" gays with menthol cigarettes...
The article claimed that the increased smoking rates were because of "the stress of homophobia" and cited an article by the American lung association. If you skim the article you will find that it readily admits that there have been no studies as to the cause (only the prevalence of smoking.) They theorize that it could be because you are more likely to smoke if you are a part of the bar and club culture and claim that the bar is more important to homosexuals than to straights. After that they say it could be because gays have a harder time accessing the health system and as such have less access to treatment as smokers. Only in one part they say that "smoking rates, as well as other negative health behaviors and outcomes, are higher in groups that experience high levels of stress" and say that homophobia may play a part in that.
Anyhow, it is interesting that the article chose to say it was because of society in general that gays are more likely to smoke. It is also very interesting that none of the theories point to an individual- only to marketing, bars, society, treatment, pressure and the likes.
Please don't get me wrong; I have very little doubt that smoking rates would drop if all of society lovingly embraced gays and lesbians. In the mean time, I really can't fault tobacco companies for taking advantage of the fact that there are more smokers in this community- it's the reason they exist.