And Baggett said that health care workers often make a mistake when they assume that people who are homeless don't want help to quit. "The vast majority of homeless people, just like any other type of patient we see, they want to be healthy. They want to feel better," he said.
"There's something that's reaffirming about addressing issues like exercise and smoking, even with people who are living in extreme circumstances because there's something normalizing and affirming about that," Baggett added.
What's more, Baggett said a strong case can be made for the idea that an addiction to tobacco, which is expensive, is a factor that may keep people from escaping the streets.
"It's not just a financial cost, it's also an opportunity cost, because [of] all the time that's spent getting money for cigarettes." he said. "It's probably contributing to keeping people in the cycle of poverty."
For more about tobacco use among the homeless, visit the National Coalition for the Homeless.
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