Why the poor pay virtually no attention to ‘quit smoking’ campaigns

Years ago, while working on a street outreach program feeding the homeless, I observed that virtually every one of our clients was a smoker. (In fact, researchers now estimate that about 94% of the North American homeless population smoke). These are men and women whose health is already severely compromised because of their living conditions, mental health issues, addictions or disease – not to mention lack of money for smokes.

Why are they adding a known health threat like tobacco to the mix as well?

A fascinating study in the UK shed some light on that question by observing that the poorer you are, the more likely you’ll be to take up smoking, and the less likely you’ll also be to quit smoking.(1) It helps to explain the spectacular lack of success that otherwise effective anti-smoking campaigns have among lower socioeconomic populations.   Continue reading