Smoking Prevalence: National surveys indicate that smoking prevalence among homeless adults is approximately 73%87 compared with 17.8% among the general population.


  • A 2009 nationally representative survey found that, despite having a quit ratio less than half of that seen in the U.S. general population, homeless smokers did not differ from non-homeless smokers in their rates of desire to quit.88 More homeless episodes were found to be associated with lower odds of successful cessation.87

Health Effects:


  • In 1994, the Phillip Morris (under the brand name Merit) donated 7,000 blankets to homeless shelters in Brooklyn, in order to “generate media coverage.”60
  • RJR directly targeted the homeless as part of an urban marketing plan in the 1990s, focused on the advertising of ‘‘value’’ brands to ‘‘street people.’’90
  • In 1995, one tobacco company developed a marketing plan aimed at homeless people and gays. They called it project SCUM: Sub Culture Urban Marketing.91