Working class people, folks of color and queers and god forbid if you are all three of those things, you are going to be smoking. You are stressed out. There are not a lot of things that are accessible for you in terms of relief. Like, who can afford to get a massage every week? I can’t. Who can afford to get mental health care?

Sometimes smoking a cigarette is the difference between – I don’t know, at least for me, it’s the difference between cutting myself or not… So sometimes I think it is a coping mechanism. Sometimes it is the only one and it’s the best one that people have.

So here we see this emphasis on how marginal access to health care resources positions smoking as an accessible and effective survival strategy. And for Ana and other participants, smoking becomes perceived in some ways as a harm reduction strategy for surviving in the present, running counter to mainstream public health discourse that situates smoking in relation to its future risk of tobacco-related illnesses.

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