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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction

Queer Quit follow-up study

Summary Queer Quit follow-up study: Adaptation and dissemination of a smoking cessation programme, sensitization of the homosexual population, identification of success and risk factors for HIV-positive participants and integration into mainstream care
Project manager(s) Michael Schaub
Duration 01.2012 – 12.2014
Funding partner(s) Tabakpräventionsfonds (TPF)
Cooperating partner(s) Checkpoint Zürich, Checkpoint Genève


The prevalence of smoking in the gay population is significantly higher than in heterosexual male comparison groups. Many gay men have made several unsuccessful attempts to stop smoking, but a high proportion would be willing to stop smoking and have a strong preference for specific smoking cessation interventions tailored to their needs. For this reason, a programme from England was adapted culturally and linguistically in Zurich and applied to 70 men. Despite various psychological and physical factors, a remarkable abstinence rate of 28.6% was achieved after 6 months.


On the one hand, the aim is to raise awareness among the gay population of the possibilities of prevention. Alos, the willingness to give up smoking amongst gay men who smoke and are HIV positive should increase. An additional aim is to raise awareness among gay men with or without HIV infection of the health risks of tobacco smoking.


The project implementation is carried out by members of the target group themselves, who are familiar with their living environments, forms of transport and learning, and have a broad network with the target group. The access to the target group is relationship-led mainly by using contacts to key persons from associations and groups, but also from specialist offices and media of the homosexual community. Sensitization of the gay population takes place in the setting of their associations and organizations through specific information events, which also serve to recruit course participants. On the other hand, existing networks, organisations and institutions of HIV/AIDS prevention should be used for recruitment. The smoking cessation courses themselves will be offered in various cities in German and French-speaking Switzerland and will be based on the adapted smoking cessation programme. Furthermore, evaluation surveys will be conducted to identify success factors and risks as well as possible predictors and moderators relevant for long-term smoking cessation, especially for HIV-positive persons from the courses.


With this project, the gay population in various language regions of Switzerland will be sensitized to the health risks of smoking and, for the first time, a target group-specific effective offer to stop smoking will be offered on a broad basis. In this way, the health burden caused by tobacco smoking, which is many times higher among HIV-positive people, can be significantly reduced and an important contribution is made to improving the health situation of gay men. In addition, the long-term integration into the regular care of smoking cessation programmes is to be achieved during the course of the project. By identifying success factors and risks as well as possible predictors and moderators relevant for long-term abstinence from smoking, new insights can be gained, especially for the smoking cessation of HIV-positive gay men, which are highly relevant from the perspective of national and international tobacco and HIV/AIDS prevention. 


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