Smoking: Just to Get By

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    Smoking is a stress relief,” says one of the interview subjects of this Filter film about the reasons people smoke cigarettes, despite the severe harms, and the benefits they find in nicotine.

    The eight people featured live in community-supported housing in New York City and have mental health issues ranging from depression to anxiety to schizophrenia. Each person explains the origins and extent of their smoking, what they like about it, and the methods they have used to try to quit. These methods include nicotine patches—shown by a recent major study to be only about half as effective as vaping as a quit method.

    The film front-loads the voices of an often-ignored population group that has the highest rates of morbidity and mortality due to smoking.

    • Helen is the senior editor of Filter. She has written about nicotine, mental health and drug policy for publications including Al Jazeera, AlterNet, Harper’s and The Influence. As an LCSW, she works with drug users in medical and community mental health settings. An expert on tobacco harm reduction, she provides training and consultation on mental health, nicotine use and THR, and in 2016 organized the first Tobacco Harm Reduction Conference in the US. Helen is also a documentary filmmaker.

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