How Big Tobacco Targets the Mentally Ill

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Want more proof that nothing is out of bounds for tobacco companies in carrying out their profitable mission to push “nicotine delivery systems” any way they can? Consider this –

Did you know mentally ill adults smoke one third of all cigarettes in the US? It’s true, and it didn’t come about just by accident. In 2007 Big Tobacco was forced to admit that starting in the 1950s it had targeted mentally ill people with bogus scientific evidence and free cigarettes.

Two whopping lies were used to convince vulnerable people, their families and even the medical profession that smoking cigarettes was a good idea. It was claimed:

1. Smoking relieves the symptoms of psychosis, depression and anxiety.
2. Mentally ill people have special immunity to tobacco-related disease.

These unbelievably cynical fabrications were pushed so aggressively by cigarette-makers that many customers/victims still believe them and suffer the effects.

But that’s not all we have to offer!

Smoking has become an expensive addiction, and most people in this population are disproportionately poor. That usually means having to sacrifice things that would actually benefit their well being – simple things like food and medicine.

And yet an industry, which openly merchandises death and misery, is recognized as a legitimate business, with government subsidies, and continues to be pushed by Wall Street as a viable investment.

Maybe it’s time to broaden the definition of mental illness.

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Author: Ron Nilson

Lapsed capitalist, recovering consumer, artist, self-published poet, avid tree hugger, animal rights advocate and Reiki Master. Originally from New Jersey - now living in Michigan near the great urban experiment called Detroit.

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