Advertising campaign: Big Tobacco targets the mentally ill

Here’s a really shocking statistic: It’s estimated that over 70 percent of schizophrenics smoke and thatover 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder smoke. The rate of smoking for people with PTSD and clinical depression is believed to be around 50 percent.

That’s while the smoking rate overall is roughly 16-17 percent.

Why the giant difference? Some have theorized that nicotine actually calms some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

What’s especially cruel however, is that Big Tobacco very subtly markets its products to people with mental health conditions, and it has for decades, promoting cigarettes as “soothing,” and will help steady your nerves, etc.

A new Truth campaign (starring the rapper Logic) takes Big Tobacco to task for marketing to the mentally ill. This ad was unveiled at the recent Video Music Awards (no one will ever accuse the Truth Campaign of not having savvy).

This might be one of the reasons why the smoking rate is so high among the mentally ill — that Big Tobacco has long known of this phenonema and has been exploiting it for decades. Honestly, nothing is beneath them, literally nothing. According to Truth, Big Tobacco actually used to give away cartons of cigarettes in mental hospitals (60 years ago, Big Tobacco actually used to give away cigarettes at children’s playgrounds. I’m not making that up. Seriously.)

It’s a pretty serious charge by the Truth Campaign; I’m sure Big Tobacco isn’t happy about it. And particularly unhappy to see these ads air during the VMAs.

Anyway, here is the ad from Truth:

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