Tobacco control policies, social inequality and mental health populations: time for a comprehensive treatment response
A recent report conducted by Access Economics for SANE Australia has comprehensively reviewed the economic costs of smoking for Australian smokers with mental illness and found that the financial cost to these smokers is $33 billion (AUST) per year . Internationally, research has estimated the economic costs of smoking to reach $500 billion (US) by 2010 . This prompts a long-standing debate about tobacco control initiatives and their effectiveness and consequences for vulnerable populations. Chapman  has argued for increased tobacco control, stating that those who see tobacco as a legitimate product and tobacco control as jeopardising the financial benefits gained through tobacco excise are ill-informed regarding its social costs and the ethics of continuing to support its revenue-raising role. However, the price and demand relationship of some commodities may be very elastic for some groups within the population, that is, raising taxes on them will not necessarily lead to reduced demand for those commodities. It is time to unpack the debate and advocate for more to be done for smokers with mental illness, beyond mere broad population-based tobacco control strategies and policies and piecemeal support to quit.
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