5 LGBT things you need to know today, July 11

1. Smoking has reportedly overtaken HIV as the biggest health risk to the LGBT community.2. “You are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. There is a clear line betwe...
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Snuffing it out: Gay bars lead the way in banning lighting up

Smoking in Atlanta's bars

UPDATED April 26: Atlanta Eagle goes smoke-free indoors beginning Monday, April 29. Burkharts is holding a one-week trial run of smoke-free indoors also beginning on April 29.

Jeff Powell, wearing his baseball cap flipped backwards, lights up a Marlboro Light in the upstairs bar of Blake’s on the Park. It’s early on a Saturday night, so the Midtown bar is not jam-packed with people. He and his friends are tossing back beers and cocktails as drag star Charlie Brown sashays past.

“I’m a very conscious smoker,” Powell said. “I’m aware of my surroundings. I want to be conscious of nonsmokers and don’t want to offend anyone.”

Blake’s allows smoking throughout the two-story bar, but in the past few months, several other gay bars have announced they are prohibiting smoking or only allowing smoking in a designated area. Powell said he has no problem with that.

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Health: Quitting (smoking) hot

Rev. Paul Turner

After more than four decades where Rev. Paul Turner’s hand was never far from a cigarette, he finally got mad enough to quit for good.

New Year’s Eve marked nine weeks since his last cigarette.

“I quit something that I should have never have started,” Turner said.

His last cigarette came from a pack he bought in late October, and it followed an almost spontaneous decision to lay down the cancer sticks.

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State health grant targets LGBT smoking

The Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative has received an $85,000 one-year grant to work with the state to determine tobacco usage and prevention methods within the LGBT community.