The numbers are in. And ….
People with mental illness are 70% more likely to smoke cigarettes than people without mental illness, two federal health agencies reported….New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that one of every three adults with mental illness smokes, compared with one in five adults without mental illness.
The study noted several possible reasons that smoking among the mentally ill has been and remains high, including marketing by the tobacco industry and the historical use of cigarettes as an incentive to improve behavior in psychiatric hospitals. — NYTimes
Summary: You don’t HAVE to be crazy, but it helps.
Don’t you love the bit about the “historical incentive?” Here’s how this works. Let’s say you’re locked up in a loony bin somewhere, at the complete mercy of a pack of sadistic at worst, apathetic at best so-called medical staff (because that’s who runs these places). You haven’t quite adjusted to your breakfast of coffee and Thorazine, so every now and then your eyes bug out in paranoid frustration and you start screaming at the top of your lungs, thrashing about like a boated sports fish, and flinging around whatever you get your hands on, even if it’s your own fresh shit.
After a few hours of enforced isolation, sometimes adorned in a straitjacket that severely reduces circulation of blood to your fingertips, some white coat sits down across from you and makes you a deal. Don’t do that tomorrow and you’ll get 4 extra cigarettes as a reward. Don’t do that two days in a row, you’ll get 5 more. Etc.
Ferchrissake, don’t tell him you don’t smoke. Maybe you’re crazy, maybe you’re not, but don’t be a shmuck, too. You take the smokes and either learn to love them, or trade them to another inmate for his dessert, or extra meds, a blow job, whatever. Now you’re set.
Yes, the mental health system at its best, with a side order of capitalism. Brought to you by American Tobacco Institute. They care.
Thinking back, most, not all, of the certifiably crazy people I’ve had the pleasure to know were smokers. They often had other bad habits, too, like a fondness for folk music and crafts. But many also developed good habits, like drinking, which made them a lot happier, especially in combination with their drugs. It also kept the medical establishment at bay, and as crazy as they were, they weren’t so dumb as to understand that the worst thing that ever happened to them was slipping into the clutches of the cult of psychiatry, and to avoid further exposure.
In other tobacco news, it has come out that cigar makers are sticking cat litter into their products to save on taxes:
A dozen tobacco companies have gained from a legal loophole that helped them avoid up to $1.1 billion in U.S. taxes.
Their secret: Using fillers such as the clay found in cat litter or stuffing the products with more tobacco to tip the scales in their favor. The heavier weight lets the companies sidestep a 2,653 percent increase in a federal excise tax, taking advantage of a 2009 law that spared so-called big cigars.
“It shows what length the tobacco companies will go to avoid taxes and regulation that were designed to improve public health without regard to their customers,” Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said in a telephone interview. “They should equalize the tax to stop the shenanigans.” —Seattle Times
I get the image of my cats finding their way into my humidor and using it as a litter box. This might help keep the cigars moist, but I doubt if it will do much for the flavor.
Wait — what was that tax increase? 2,653%? That’s got to be enough to convince some smokers to switch to cigarettes, and those that do would be anything but crazy.
Tell me again why marijuana is illegal.
[Image Credit, with thanks]