An event celebrating the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture and community is going smoke free this year.

For the first time in the community-wide event's history, the Alaska PrideFestival will be smoke free. The Alaska PrideFestival's parent organization, Identity, Inc., voted 2013's PrideFestival as a "100 percent smoke-free event," and to refuse any funding from the tobacco industry.

The American Lung Association in Alaska and the Tobacco Free Rainbow Alliance support the decision to go smoke free because of the negative effects tobacco has on the LGBT community. According to the Alliance, the LGBT population smoke at rates up to double that of the rest of the population.

During last year's Pridefest, 80 percent of the attendees surveyed said they would prefer a smoke-free environment.

"These numbers are all the evidence we needed to make PrideFest smoke free," said Tom Rachal, co-founder of the Tobacco Free Rainbow Alliance.

PrideFest in Alaska is one of the first PrideFest events in the country to go smoke free.

Contact Jessica Ridgway