Tobacco targets less affluent, addicted
Some of the tactics that the tobacco industry used in the 80’s and 90’s to target individual consumers and service organizations: blankets branded with their logos donated to homeless shelters, free samples offered to homeless shelters and mental hospitals, and sponsored appearance of brands being smoked by homeless activists in movies.
As noted by the industry’s own reports, more educated and affluent people were giving up tobacco products because of the rise
in education about the health risks. The industry had to shift its marketing focus towards lower income, less educated, and minority segments of the US population.
The result is higher usage rates in the United States among people with mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, and with lower incomes. Tobacco use among people with mental illness is higher than compared with those without mental illness. “36% of adults with mental illness smoke cigarettes. In comparison, 21% of adults without mental illness smoke cigarettes,” and ”31% of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness,” says the CDC.
Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death in people with mental illness or addiction. In this population in the US, there are over 400,000 deaths caused by smoking per year. 50% of deaths in schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder are attributed to tobacco (Callaghan, 2013).
The lives and wellbeing of people with mental illness and substance abuse matter. Facilities can greatly benefit from tobacco-free policies, and awareness must be heightened in regards to the role that tobacco addiction plays in sabotaging recovery.
Join us for Lunch & Learn: Tobacco & Mental Health Recovery on Friday, September 9th at MCL in Richmond, 12pm – 1 pm. Debbie Hudson of Bringing Indiana Along will present. The event is cohosted by Breathe In Wayne County Coalition and the Drug Free Wayne County Partnership.