Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Are Smokers More Likely to have less Education and Less Income?

More and more people are quitting every day. If it was easy for you to quit smoking, you probably would have quit already. But those who are still smoking are more likely to have less education, less income and are more likely to have a substance abuse problem or a mental illness. This does NOT apply to all smokers but this is the group that are having a hard time quitting. Is there a connection? Up to 95% of individuals with schizophrenia smoke and 85% of hard core alcoholics are also smokers. If you have a substance abuse problem or a mental illness, then it would stand to reason that you might make less money than someone without these added problems or have more difficulty in maintaining employment?
Individuals with substance abuse problems and mental illness are also the ones that are probably more highly physically addicted and are best candidates for medications, yet often they can't afford the up front cost for these type of help because of their lower income, while those with higher income are able to pay for help out of pocket.
Most insurance companies do not pay for medications or counseling to stop smoking while the tobacco companies spend $164 million each year to try and get more people to start smoking.
If everyone on medicaid stopped smoking, the annual savings after 5 years would be $9.7 Billion.
Smoking is more than just a bad habit, it is a health care crisis that costs our society $7.18 for every pack of cigarettes sold. It's time for us to stand up and recognize the health care problem that smoking has created and it's time to do something about it, it's time to prevent the next generation from ever starting, it's time to help every smoker quit who wants to quit and it's time to recognize that smoking is an addiction that our society can not afford to support. And it is the weakest individuals within our society that tobacco hurts the most, the poor, the under educated and those suffering from other addictions.

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