Las Vegas, Nevada - Tobacco Prevention and Control Program of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health and associated partners are pleased to announce the 2016 PRIDE Festival in Las Vegas will be smoke-free. In addition to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products will not be allowed at the festival.

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program recognizes this as a milestone achievement related to model outreach work led by the Southern Nevada Health District’s LGBT tobacco prevention program CRUSH.

CRUSH is a decade-old tobacco prevention program tailored to the LGBT community between the ages of 18 and 24, a key demographic for tobacco companies. The program uses outreach strategies that include hosting smoke-free events and activities implemented after a 2005 Clark County Adult Tobacco Survey revealed that smoking prevalence rates for LGBT community members were disproportionally higher than for other groups.

“PRIDE events across the country are acknowledging the effects of smoking on our communities and are taking steps to educate people about how to protect themselves and their families. CRUSH will be on hand to provide information and resources to help people quit smoking,” said Malcolm Ahlo, health educator and CRUSH coordinator at the Southern Nevada Health District.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of tobacco use among LGBT adults is higher at about one in four individuals or 23.9 percent; among heterosexual adults, it is one in six adults or 16.6 percent. The tobacco industry spends $80.3 million marketing its products in Nevada with a significant portion specifically targeting the LGBT community.

Smoking is responsible for more deaths in the United States than alcohol, HIV/AIDS, automobile crashes, or illegal drug use. Nevadans who are interested in quitting smoking can call the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for assistance. The Nevada Tobacco Quitline offers information on cessation programs, counselors and medications to help quit smoking. Additional information about smoking in the LGBT community, advice, and resources for quitting smoking, as well as information about how people can get involved in efforts to reduce smoking rates in Las Vegas are available on the CRUSH website at: www.SoCrush.com.

The Pride events are 12 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22 and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 at Sunset Park and will include two stages, food vendors, family, and pet-friendly activities. For information about the 2016 event, visit http://lasvegaspride.org/pride-festival/