Tob Control 14:409-415 doi:10.1136/tc.2005.011890
  • Research paper

Marketing to the marginalised: tobacco industry targeting of the homeless and mentally ill

  1. D E Apollonio,
  2. R E Malone
  1. University of California, San Francisco, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ruth E Malone
 RN, PhD, FAAN, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 455, UCSF Box 0612, San Francisco, CA 94143-0612; rmalone{at}
  • Received 16 March 2005
  • Accepted 1 July 2005


Objectives: To describe the tobacco industry’s relationships with and influence on homeless and mentally ill smokers and organisations providing services to them.

Methods: Analysis of internal tobacco industry documents and journal articles.

Results: The tobacco industry has marketed cigarettes to the homeless and seriously mentally ill, part of its “downscale” market, and has developed relationships with homeless shelters and advocacy groups, gaining positive media coverage and political support.

Discussion: Tobacco control advocates and public health organisations should consider how to target programmes to homeless and seriously mentally ill individuals. Education of service providers about tobacco industry efforts to cultivate this market may help in reducing smoking in these populations.


  • Funding: American Legacy Foundation (Apollonio), National Cancer Institute CA90789 and CA109153 (Malone)

  • Competing interests: none declared

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