While overall smoking rates have decreased, including a record low of 6% among youth, the numbers do not tell the whole story.
Tobacco use disproportionately affects several groups, including
- low-income people
- racial and ethnic minorities
- LGBT people
- military personnel and,
- people with mental illnesses.
Who has a long history of being targeted by the tobacco industry.
People with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, or substance use disorders make up 25% of the population. Still, they smoke 40% of all cigarettes in the United States.
In comparison to 1 in 5 adults without mental illness, 1 in 3 adults with mental illness smoke.
The higher smoking rates (one in every three adults with mental illness smokes than one in every five adults without mental illness) contribute to a shorter lifespan. Mentally ill people die five years earlier than those who do not have these disorders. Smoking cigarettes cause numerous of these deaths.
Because of various social and economic disadvantages, tobacco disproportionately impacts this population and other marginalized groups. These people all have one thing in common. They’ve all been exploited by the tobacco industry.
Tobacco and its Relationships with People Who Have Mental Health Issues
Tobacco companies have targeted people with mental illnesses, including providing free cigarettes to psychiatric facilities.
During the 1980s and 1990s, tobacco companies targeted psychiatric facilities with product promotions and giveaways. The facilities also requested cigarette donations, according to industry documents. “In the past, your company has made our clients a lot happier during the holidays by providing us with several cases of cigarettes,” says a 1995 letter from a mental illness and substance abuse treatment center in North Carolina, referring to multiple cigarette donations the facility had received over the years. The tobacco company responded with 800 sample cigarettes in response to the request.
By funding misleading research studies, the tobacco industry has also helped perpetuate some common misconceptions about tobacco and mental health, such as that cigarettes have a therapeutic effect and that quitting will worsen symptoms.
Contrary to industry publicity, research shows that quitting smoking improves treatment outcomes for substance abuse and mental illnesses. Several studies have found that people with substance use disorders who quit smoking while seeking treatment for their addiction are more likely to avoid relapse.
According to research, people recovering from depression or mood disorders who quit smoking have fewer symptoms as part of their treatment.
Obstacles to Quitting
Despite the benefits of quitting smoking, people with mental illnesses face numerous obstacles in doing so.
Many treatment facilities do not provide smoking cessation services. The tobacco industry has backed efforts to overturn smoking bans in mental health facilities. Big Tobacco “hired legal counsel to monitor research on hospital smoking restrictions,” according to a journal article on tobacco use and schizophrenia.
Given the targeted marketing to this demographic, it’s not surprising that people with mental illnesses have lower success rates than the general population.
Youths of every country find it cool to intake tobacco, which they regret after becoming older. They are the most of this general population. We hope the upcoming generation understands how bad it is to consume tobacco with time. Share this news with everyone and make them aware of the statistics.