Around 80% of the homeless American population are vape products enthusiasts like e-liquids according to the data of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Reasons Why the Homeless Smoke
Most people reported smoking tobacco and vaping before they lost their homes. Undeniably, persons with tobacco dependency will continue their harmful oral habit of smoking. There are several reasons why homeless people smoke. The following reasons are stress, emotional or psychological issues caused by being homeless. Individuals who abruptly and unexpectedly lost their sources of income and homes are susceptible to resort to smoking as a means of coping with their predicament.
In one instance, the tobacco companies particularly targeted the vulnerable homeless Americans by offering them free blankets, free samples of cigarettes, other goods with printed tobacco brands. The marketing aimed to maintain their smoking habits and become the industry’s loyal lifetime customers.
Medical Consequences for the Homeless
We all know that smoking has caused destructive health illnesses to the homeless populace. They don’t have health insurance, hence preventing them from visiting the primary healthcare provider. They cannot be examined in the earlier stages of their illness and be closely monitored, leading them to develop deteriorating health complications later on.
The deprived community is at risk for health problems due to crowded shelters and unsanitary living conditions such as the sharing of tobacco products or cigarettes, where diseases and ailments can easily be disseminated.
Statistics of Homeless Smokers
The homeless community has an estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million of the population.
Homeless smokers with greater moral support from a supportive group reported greater willingness and commitment to quit the habit. A research finding proved that peer-based and group-oriented programs are effective strategies in influencing smokers to quit smoking.
Effects of smoking and the Homeless Community
Hardcore smokers who smoke for a long time usually develop trachea, esophagus, kidney, liver, throat, and lung cancer.
Tobacco contains harmful chemicals which in large doses can cause heart attack, loss of consciousness, coma, seizures, and fainting.
Cause of Death – Smoking
Inadequate or no health care at all, consequently causing most of their deaths.
Common Smoking-Related Diseases which resulted in death:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cancer of the Lung, Mouth, Larynx, Liver, Throat, Esophagus, Bladder, Kidney, etc.
- Worsening chronic symptoms of Asthma
Challenges to Quit
Ceasing the use of tobacco, cigarette, or vaping habit is a very challenging process.
According to Stephen Morrisey, homeless smokers are experiencing psychiatric symptoms, nicotine dependency, and a coexisting disorder of substance abuse. Moreover, most of them do not have the essential source of care and health insurance, thus limiting their access to vital and regular therapies of smoking-cessation.
Available Support for Homeless Smokers
In current years, clinicians have realized that the number of cases of homeless vaping enthusiasts and smokers is tragically and alarmingly soaring high. State health departments and organizations have taken initiatives and provided vital resources to guide, support, and assist them to change their unhealthy lifestyle.
We should not neglect the underprivileged homeless smokers but instead, accept them unconditionally and help them.
Quitting the unhealthy habit requires a lot of self-discipline, determination, commitment, support, and guidance. We must provide a non-judgmental and empathetic environment for smokers to achieve their new life-changing goals. The significant lifestyle change must start with a positive mindset.
When there’s life, there is always hope!